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Dear Nephew {Muhammad al-Hasani), 

i know that you, like other children of your age, 
have a keen interest in reading and listening to stories. 
What saddens me is that stories you read are only about 
animals — cats, dogs, lions, wolves, monkeys and bears. 
We your elders are to blame for this sad state of affairs, 
for these are the only stories available for you. 

That is why I planned to write a series of story 
books in Arabic suitable for children of your age, dealing 
with the life and the work of the Prophets and Messen- 
gers. Qisas af-Nablyeen (Stories Of The Prophets), being 
the first part of the series, is presented here. It is my gift 
to you. 

In this series of stories I have tried to write in a 
way that suits the interests of children. That is why I have 
repeated certain expressions and kept the story simple. 

I believe this may be the first book of its kind for children 
studying in religious institutions. In future titles in this 
series, you will read other interesting, clear and moving 
accounts of other Prophets of Allah. What happens in 
these stories is very special, because, unlike other stories, 
they are totally free of any fie or falsehood. 

May Allah, through you, bring happiness and 
peace to your parents, to your unde and to Islam and 
help to restore the glory of your ancestors the Muslims 
who came before you. (Ameen) 


Ali al-Hasani 



Foreword 5 

Introduction _ 7 

1 . The Prophet Nuh 9 

2. The Prophet Hud 22 

3. The Prophet Salih 29 

4. The Prophet Ibrahim 38 

5. The Prophet Yusuf 48 

6. The Prophet Musa 67 

7. The Prophet Shu'ayb 124 

8. The Prophets Da'ud and Sulayman 130 

9. The Prophets Ayyub and Yunus 141 

10. The Prophets Zakariyya and Yahya 145 

11. The Prophet Isa ibn Maryam 150 

Workbook 169 


Islamic and Biblical Names 










































Solo man 









The Prophets were chosen by Allah to guide 
mankind to the Divine Path. They faced many difficulties 
and suffered severe hardships in their efforts to call their 
straying people to obey and worship Allah. This edition of 
Stories of the Prophets presents the lives of Allah's Prophets 
(peace and blessing be upon them). The stories were 
written by the renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Sayyed 
Abul Hasan All Nadwi. He is one of the greatest living 
authorities on Islam and his works are used as textbooks 
throughout the Arab and Muslim world. 

This translation from a major Arabic work provides 
English-speaking Muslims with the benefits of Maulana 
Sayyed Abul Hasan's scholarship. The stories which have 
been drawn from the Holy Qur'an constantly reflect the 
author's depth of knowledge. They are written in a lively 
style with subtleties explained and descriptions vividly 
portrayed to provide the reader with a clear picture of each 
Prophet's mission. 

Each story is a delight to read and should provide 
both adults and children with a fresh insight into the life of 
the men Allah chose to guide their communities. The story 
of the last Prophet has not been included in this edition as 
it deserves a book to itself. To ensure that young people 


receive all the guidance, knowledge and inspiration that 
Stories of the Prophets offers, a workbook is included. 

My thanks are due to Sis. Aisha Bewley, Sis. 
Maryam Davies, Bro. Jamil Qureshi, my daughters Su'ad, 
Shifa' and my other children for their help in producing 
this book. May Allah accept this effort and make it a source 
of inspiration and guidance for all. 

Leicester (England) Iqbal Ahmad Azami 

Shawwal 1410 A.H 
May 1990 


I know Sayyed Abul Hasan Nadwi, the author of 
this book, both in person and through his writings. I find 
in him the heart and mind of a Muslim — he has spent his 
whole life in the service of Islam - in addition to his 
thorough knowledge and insight into Islam. This is my 
testimony which I affirm for Allah's sake in this introduction. 

Though quite small. Stories of the Prophets is a 
major work and a substantial addition to the opus of Sayyed 
Abul Hasan and his distinguished contemporaries in the 
field of Islamic Da'wah (in the Indian subcontinent). Islam 
must be taught in its pristine purity not only to adults but 
also to Muslim children. They are in greater need of such 
food for thought which may instruct them in the message 
of Islam. For it will help them grow up with the taste of 
Islam in their souls, the radiance of faith in their hearts and 
joy in their spirits. Stories are the basic constituency that 
help orient and mature the supple minds of children. Yet, 
though meant for children, this book will, I believe, be 
invaluable to adults also. For many Muslim adults taught 
under the colonial and Christian missionary-dominated 
educational system have been deprived of the opportunity 
to know the Quranic stories, to value their profound 
meaning, their spiritual quality, and their effectiveness, 
which are to the fore in this book. 

I have read many books for children including those 
about the Stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them). 


Indeed, I have been closely associated with a series of 
books drawn from the Holy Qur'an. Nonetheless, I testify 
without reservation, that Abul Hasan's present book surpas- 
ses all such works. What accounts for its excellence is the 
inclusion, with elucidation, of subtle teachings of the 
Qur'an, of explanations that highlight and reinforce the 
Qur'anic message, through the author's apt comments 
interwoven into the telling of the story. These comments 
provide glimpses of the greatest religious truths and they 
easily and effectively enter into the hearts of children and 
adults alike. 

May Allah bestow His choicest rewards on Sayyed 
Abul Hasan and grant him the strength to carry out more 
such works. May Allah guide through his writings the future 
generations of Muslims that are under the constant attack 
of storms of disbelief, whose paths are strewn with thorns, 
whom black darkness surrounds, and who so urgently 
need guidance, light, care and sincere counselling for their 
growth. Allah alone grants the strength to accomplish every 
good deed. 

Sayyed Qutb 

1 . The Prophet Nuh 

After Adam (peace and blessings be upon him)* 

Allah blessed the descendants of Adam, his children 
and grandchildren, and they spread and multiplied. If 
Adam had come back and seen them all, and someone 
had said to him, These are your descendants, Adam/ he 
would have been astonished. He would have said, 'Glory 
be to Allah! These are all my children! These are all my 

Adam's descendants founded many villages. They 
built many houses. They ploughed the land, grew crops 
and Jived in comfort and contentment. They followed the 
way of their ancestor, Adam. They worshipped only Allah 
and did not worship anything else besides Him. 

They were one united community. Adam was the 
one father of all of them, and Allah was their One Lord. 

Satan's envy 

Satan had not bowed down to Adam when Allah 
had commanded him to do so. So he was driven out and 
damned for ever. But how could Satan and his descendants 
be content with this? Were not people still worshipping 

^Muslims are required to Invoke Allah's blessings and peace upon the 
Prophets whenever their name is mentioned. 


Allah? Were not people still a single community with no 
differences? That could not be! Would Adam's descendants 
go to the Garden while Iblis and his descendants went to 
the Fire? That could not be! Should not he take revenge on 
the sons of Adam so that they would go to the Fire with him? 

Satan's idea 

But how could Satan do that when people were 
worshipping Allah? He decided to call them to worship 
idols so that they would go to the Fire and never get to 
the Garden. He knew that Allah forgives people all sins, if 
He so wills, except one. Allah never forgives people 
worshipping other things besides Him or as well as Him, 

So Satan decided to call the people to associate 
other things with Allah so that they would never go to the 
Garden. But how could he persuade them? 

If he went to the people and said to them, 'Worship 
idols. Do not worship Allah/ they would curse him and 
chase him off. They would say: 'Allah forbid! How can 
we associate other things with our Lord? How can we 
worship idols? You are a cursed satan! You are a foul satan!' 

So Satan had to look for another way, a cleverer 
way, to get the people to do as he wanted. 

Satan's trick 

There had been men who feared Allah and worship- 
ped Him night and day and who remembered Him often. 
They had loved Allah, so Allah had loved them and 
answered their prayers. People loved them and spoke of 
them with respect long after they had died and gone to 
Allah's mercy. 


Satan was well aware of this. So he went to the 
people and mentioned those men. He said, 'What do you 
think of So-and-so and So-and-so and So-and-so?' 

I hey said, 'Glory be to Allah! They were men of 
Allah and His friends. When those men prayed, He 
answered them. When they asked, He gave to them/ 

Pictures of the righteous men 

Satan asked, 'How great is your sorrow for them?' 
They replied, 'Very great indeed/ 

He asked, 'How great is your longing for them?' 
They replied, 'Very great indeed!' 

He asked, 'Why don't you look at them every day 
then?' They said, 'How can we do that when they are 
dead?' He said, 'Make pictures of them and look at them 
every morning.' 

People liked Satan's idea and made such pictures 
and looked at them every day. Whenever they saw the 
pictures, they remembered how those holy men had lived. 

From pictures to statues 

In time, the people moved on from making pictures 
to making statues. They made many statues of the holy 
men and put them in their houses and their mosques. 

They still worshipped Allah and did not associate 
anything with Him. They knew that these were only statues 
of holy men and that they could neither help nor hurt them 
nor provide for them. They showed them respect because 
they were reminders of the holy men. 

As time passed, the number of statues increased. 
The people respected them more and more. They got used 


to having them around and looked for blessings in them. 
Now whenever one of their holy men died, they would 
make a statue of him and name it after him. 

From statues to idols • 

Sons saw their fathers looking for blessings through 
the statues and saw how much respect they had for them. 
They saw them kiss the statues, dress them and pray to 
Allah in their presence. They saw them lower their heads 
and bow down in their presence. 

When the fathers passed away, the sons added to 
what their fathers had done. They began to prostrate 
themselves before them, to ask the statues for things and 
to sacrifice animals to them. In this way the statues were 
turned into idols. 

People began to worship them as they had worship- 
ped Allah before. They had a lot of these idols. One was 
Wadd. Another was Suwa'. This was Yaghuth. That was 
Ya'uq. Another was Nasr. 

Allah's anger 

Allah became very angry with the people. He 
cursed them. How could Allah not be angry with the 
people because of what they were doing? Was this what 
they were created for? Was this what they were given 
provision for? 

They walked on Allah's earth, but rejected Allah! 
They ate Allah's provision, but associated others with Allah! 
How terrible a sin! 

Allah was so angry with the people that He held 
back the rain and made things hard for them. Their harvests 


were small and few children were born to them. 

But the people did not learn their lesson from that, 
they did not understand. They did not turn to Allah in 
repentance. They needed good counsel. 

The messenger 

Allah does not speak to each person individually 
or tell each one to do this or do that. The angels are a 
race just like mankind. It is possible to see them and hear 
what they say, if Allah wills. But the angels do not speak 
to each person individually either, or tell each one to do 
this or do that. Only Allah can choose the person who 
will receive His message to give to the people. Allah wanted 
to send a messenger to the people who could speak to 
them and counsel them. Allah chose to send the children 
of Adam a man from among themselves to speak to them 
and give them good counsel. 

Man or angel? 

Allah wanted this messenger to be a man and to 
be one of the people. That way they would recognize him 
and understand what he said. 

If the messenger had been an angel, the people 
might say, What has he got to do with us? He is an angel 
and we are mortals! We eat and drink and we have wives 
and children. How can we worship Allah?' But if the 
messenger were a man, he could answer, 1 eat and drink; 
I have a wife and children. But I worship Allah. Why don't 
you worship Allah?' 

If the messenger had been an angel, the people 
might say to him, 'You do not get hungry or thirsty. You 


do not get ill or die. So you can worship Allah and 
remember Him always!' But if the messenger were a man, 
he could answer, 'I am just like you. I get hungry and 
thirsty. I get ill and will die. But I worship Allah and 
remember Him. So why don't you worship Allah? Why 
don't you remember Him?' In this way the people would 
not be able to make up excuses. 

Nuh the Messenger 

Allah chose to send Nuh to his people. 

There were wealthy people and leaders among the 
children of Adam, but Allah alone knew who should carry 
His message and who could bear His trust. 

Nuh was a pious and generous man; he was 
intelligent and forbearing, compassionate and sincere. He 
was truthful and trustworthy and known for giving good 
co u n sel . A 1 1 a h revea led to Nuh, 7 Warn your people before 
a painful punishment comes to them. '(71: 1 ) So Nuh stood 
up among his people and told them, 7 am a faithful 
messenger to you. ' (26: 107) 

What answer did his people give to him? 

When Nuh began to say to his people, 7 am a 
faithful messenger to you / (26: 107) some of them 
answered back, 'When did this man become a Prophet? 
Yesterday he was one of us and today he says, "1 am 
Allah's messenger to you"!/ 

Nuh's friends said, 'This man used to play with us 
when we were young and he sat with us every day. When 
did he become a Prophet? Was it during the day or the 


The rich and proud said, 'Couldn't Allah find 
anyone except him? Has everyone else died? Couldn't He 
find anyone except a poor man from among the common 

The ignorant ones said to each other: 'This is only 
a man like yourselves . If Allah had willed ' He would have 
sent down angels. We have never heard of this among our 
fathers , the ancients/ (23: 24) 

Some of the people said that Nuh only wanted to 
become a leader, a man of power and position among 
them, by saying he was the messenger of Allah. 

Nuh and his people 

People had got used to thinking that worshipping 
idols was the truth and a sensible thing to do. They thought 
that anyone who did not worship idols was foolish. They 
would say, 'Our fathers worshipped idols, so why doesn't 
this man worship them?' 

Nuh thought that their fathers were in the wrong 
and unwise and that Adam, who was the father of the 
fathers, did not worship idols. He worshipped Allah alone. 
Nuh thought that the people were in the wrong and foolish 
when they worshipped stones and did not worship Allah 
who had created them. 

Nuh stood up among his people, saying in his 
loudest voice, O my people / Worship Allah! You have 
no god hut Him . Truly I fear for you the punishment of a 
dreadful day . ' 

The Council of his people said, 'We see that you 
are in clear error , ' 

He said, 'My people, there is no error in me. But 
I am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds. I convey 


to you the messages of my Lord and I give you good 
advice, for I know from Allah what you do not know . ' 
(7: 59-62} 

'The lowiiest follow you' 

Nuh tried hard to make his people abandon idols 
and worship Allah alone. But only a few of those people 
who worked with their hands and ate lawful food, lawfully 
earned, believed in him. 

The rich were too proud of being rich to believe. 
Their pride kept them from listening to Nuh. Their property 
and children distracted them from thinking about the Next 
World. They would say, We are nobles and those people 
are lowly/ When Nuh called them to Allah, they answered, 
'How should we believe you when the lowliest follow 
you?' (26: 11} 

They asked Nuh to drive the poor away. Nuh 
refused and said, 7 cannot drive away the believers. My 
door is not a king's door. / am only a clear warner. ' (26: 
1 1 4 - 1 5 ) 

Nuh knew that those poor people were sincere 
believers and that Allah would be angry if he drove them 
away. Against the anger of Allah, no-one would be able 
to help him. Nuh said, 'My people, who could deliver me 
from Allah if l drive them away?' (11: 30) 

The argument of the rich 

The rich said to the people: 'Listen to us. What Nuh 
is calling you to is not true. It is not good. Why? Because 
we are the first to sample every good thing. We have every 
sort of good food, every sort of beautiful clothes. We set 


the fashion and people follow us. We have seen that we 
do not want for any good thing, and nobody out-does us 
in anything in the city/ 

They said about the poor people who had believed 
in Nuh: If there had been any good in this religion, it 
would have come to us before these paupers. If it had 
been any good, they would not be before us in attaining 
it/ (46: 11) 

Nuh's call 

Nuh went on calling his people and trying hard to 
counsel them. 

He said ' 'O my people! I am a dear warner to you , 
saying ' Worship Allah and fear Him and obey me that He 
may forgive you your sins and defer you to a spedfied 
term. When Allah's term comes, it cannot be deferred, if 
you only knew. (71 : 2 — 4) 

Allah kept the rain from them and was angry with 
them. Their harvests were small and they had few children. 
Nuh told them: "My people! If you believe, Allah will be 
pleased with you and remove this punishment/ 

Then, when Allah sent the rain to them and blessed 
their crops and children, Nuh called his people and said 
to them: 'Don't you recognize Allah? These are the signs 
of Allah all around you. Can't you see them? Can't you 
see the heavens and the earth? Can't you see the sun and 
the moon? Who created the heavens? Who placed the 
moon in them as a light and made the sun a lamp? He 
created you and laid the earth as a carpet for you/ 

But the people of Nuh would not understand and 
would not believe. When Nuh called them to Allah, they 
put their fingers in their ears. Now, how can anyone who 


does not hear a message understand it? How can anyone 
who does not want to hear, hear? 

Nuh's prayer 

Nuh stayed with his people for nine hundred and 
fifty years, calling them to Allah, but his people would not 
believe. They would not stop worshipping idols. They 
refused to return to Allah. 

How long could Nuh wait? How long could he 
watch the earth and its people being ruined? How long 
could he put up with his people worshipping stones? How 
long could he watch them eat from Allah's provisions while 
they worshipped something else? 

Why did Nuh not get angry? He was more patient 
than anyone else could have been! Nine hundred and fifty 
years: Glory be to Allah! 

Then Allah revealed to Nuh, 'None of your people 
will believe except those who have already believed. '(11: 
36 ) 

When Nuh called his people again, they said, 'Nuh! 
You have disputed with us and you have disputed often 
with us , so bring us what you promised us if you are 
speaking the truth. '(11: 32) 

Nuh became angry for Allah and despaired of those 
people. He said, O Allah, do not leave even one of the 
unbelievers on the earth!' 

The ark 

Allah answered Nuh's prayer and He decided what 
the fate of the unbelievers would be. All of them would 
be drowned in a great flood. 


Allah wanted to save Nuh and the believers. He 
commanded Nuh to build a great ship, and Nuh began 

The unbelievers from his people saw him working 
busily and they mocked: 'What is this, Nuh? Since when 
have you become a carpenter? Didn't we tell you not to 
sit with the carpenters and ironsmiths and now you have 
really become a carpenter! 

'Where is this ship going, Nuh? Everything about 
you is unbelievable! Is it going to sail in the sand or climb 
up the mountains? The sea is a long way from here. Will 
the jinn carry it or will oxen pul! it?' 

Nuh heard all that and was patient. He had heard 
worse things and had been patient. But sometimes he 
would say to them, If you mock us , we will mock you as 
you mock. ' (1 1 : 38) 

The flood 

The promise of Allah came. We seek refuge with 


It rained and rained until the sky was like a sieve 
which could not hold the water. Water poured down and 
gushed up and flowed in until it surrounded the people 
on every side. 

Then Allah revealed to Nuh, Take with you those 
of your people and family who believe/ 

Allah revealed to Nuh to take with him a pair of 
every animal and bird, a male and a female, because the 
flood would cover the earth. Neither man nor beast would 
be saved from it. Nuh did so. With him in the Ark were 
those of his people who believed in him and a pair of 
every bird and animal. 


The Ark rode with them on waves like mountains. 
The people outside the Ark climbed onto every high place 
and every hill, fleeing from Allah's punishment. 

But there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. 

Nuh's son 

Nuh had a son who was with the unbelievers. Nuh 
saw his son in the flood and said, 'My son , embark with 
us and do not be with the unbelievers . ' 

He said l 7 will seek refuge on a mountain that will 
protect me from the water . ' 

Nuh said ' / Today there is no protector from Allah's 
command except for the one to whom He shows mercy. ' 

The waves came between them and Nuh's son was 
among the drowned . (11: 42-3) 

Nuh was sad about his son. How could he not be 
sad about his own son? He wanted to save him from the 
Fire on the Day of Judgement since he was not able to 
save him from the water. The Fire is worse than the water. 
The punishment of the Next World is harsher. 

Did not Allah promise that He would save his 
family? Yes! And Allah's promise is true. He wanted to 
speak to Allah on behalf of his son. 

'He is not one of your family' 

Nuh called on his Lord and said, 'My son is part 
of my family and Your promise is true . You are the most 
just of those that judge. '(11: 45) 

But Allah does not look at people's family trees. He 
looks at their actions. Allah does not accept pleas on behalf 
of idol-worshippers. The idol-worshipper is not part of a 


Prophet's family, even if he is his son, Allah made Nuh 
aware of that. He said, 'Nuh, he is not part of your family; 
he is of evil conduct Do not ask of Me that about which 
you do not know. I warn you lest you be one of the 
ignorant '(11: 46) 

Nuh became aware and turned to Allah, repentant. 
He said; 'My Lord \ l take refuge with You lest I should ask 
of You something about which / have no knowledge. If 
you do not forgive me and show mercy to me, I will be 
among the losers. "(11: 47) 

After the flood 

When what Allah willed had happened and the 
unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water 
sank away. 

The unbelievers of the people of Nuh were de- 
stroyed. Neither the heavens nor the earth wept for them. 
ft was said, 'Away with the wrong-doing people! ' ( 1 1:44) 

The Ark stopped on Mount Judi. It was said \ 'Nuh, 
get down in peace. Mil: 48) 

Nuh and the people of the Ark got down and 
walked on the earth in peace. Allah blessed the descendants 
of Nuh and they spread in the land and filled the earth. 
There were communities among them and there were 
Prophets and kings among them. 

Peace be upon Nuh among all beings! 

Peace be upon Nuh among all the worlds ! (37 : 79) 


2. The Prophet Hud 

After Nuh 

Allah blessed the descendants of Nuh and they 
spread over the earth. One community from them was 
called 'Ad. 

They were strong men with bodies like iron, They 
conquered everyone, and no-one was able to conquer 
them. They did not fear anyone but were feared by 

Allah blessed the 'Ad in everything. Their camels and 
sheep filled the hills and valleys. Their horses filled the streets 
and footpaths of their cities. Their children filled the houses. 

When the sheep and camels of the 'Ad went out 
to pasture, they made a very beautiful sight. When the 
children went out in the morning to play, they also made 
a very beautiful sight. 

The land of the 'Ad was a fertile green land fui! of 
gardens and springs. 

The 'Ad's rejection 

But the 'Ad were not grateful to Allah for all these 
blessings. They forgot the story of the flood which they 
had heard from their fathers and whose traces they saw in 
the land. They forgot why Allah had sent the flood against 
the community of Nuh. 


They began to worship idols as the community of 
Nuh had done. They carved them out of stone with their 
own hands and then prostrated themselves before them 
and worshipped them. They asked them for what they 
needed, prayed to them and sacrificed to them. They were 
following in the footsteps of Nuh's community. 

Their intelligence did not keep them from worship- 
ping idols. Their cleverness in the things of this world did 
not guide them in religion. 

The tyranny of the 'Ad 

The strength of the 'Ad became a curse for them 
and for the people because they did not believe in Allah 
and did not believe in the Next World. 

What was to stop them from acting unjustly, from 
being tyrants and wronging people? They did not think 
anyone was above them. They did not fear any reckoning 
or punishment. 

They were no better than wild animals. The high 
and great among them would wrong the low, the strong 
among them would live off the weak. 

When they were angry, they were like mad 
elephants who kill whatever they meet in their way. When 
they made war, they destroyed every living thing. When 
they entered a village, they laid waste to it and made its 
mighty people lowly. 

The weak were terrified of their evil and fled from 
their injustice. Their strength was a curse for them and for 
others. That is what happens with any people who do not 
fear Allah and do not believe in the Next World. 


The castles of the 'Ad 

The 'Ad did nothing but eat and drink, play and 
amuse themselves, They competed with each other in 
building high castles and spacious houses. They wasted their 
wealth on water, clay and stones. Whenever they saw an 
empty place or some high ground, they built a tall castle on it. 

They built houses as if they were going to live forever 
and never die. They built castles without any need for them 
while some of the people could not find anything to eat 
or drink. The poor among them could not find anywhere 
to live while the houses of the rich were empty. Any- 
one who saw them and saw their castles would know 
straightaway that they did not believe in the Next World. 

Hud the messenger 

Allah wanted to send a messenger to the 'Ad. Allah 
does not like His slaves to disbelieve; He does nol like 
cruelty and corruption in the earth. 

The 'Ad did not use their intelligence for anything 
except eating and drinking, playing, amusing themselves 
and building houses. Their intelligence was wasted because 
they did not use it on religion. They did not understand 
and so they worshipped stones. 

Allah wanted to send the 'Ad a messenger from 
among themselves to guide them, someone they would 
know and whose words they would understand. 

Hud was that Messenger. He was born into a noble 
family and grew up intelligent and virtuous. 

Hud's call 

Hud stood up among his people and said, 'Oh my 


people , worship Allah. You have no god except Him . ' 
(11: 50) 

He said, 'O people, how can you worship stones 
and not worship the One who created you! 

'O people, how can you worship stones today 
which you had carved for yourselves only yesterday? Allah 
created you and provided for you. He blessed you in your 
property, children, crops and cattle. He made you rulers 
after the people of Nuh and gave you physical strength. 

'Part of what you owe for these blessings is to 
worship Allah and not to worship anything but Him. 

The dog to which you throw a bone does not leave 
you and will follow you like a shadow. Have you ever 
seen a dog freely leave his master and go to someone else? 
Have you ever seen any animal prostrate before an idol? 
Is man lower than an animal or higher than an animal?' 

The people's answer 

The 'Ad were busy eating, drinking, playing and 
amusing themselves. They were content with the life of this 

They were distressed by what Hud said. They said 
to each other, 'What is Hud saying? What does he mean? 
We do not understand what he says/ 

They decided, 'He is a fool or a madman/ 

When Hud called them again, the nobles of his 
people said, 'We see that you are in a state of folly and 
think that you are a liar , ' 

He said, 'My people, there is no folly in me. Rather ; 
lama messenger from the Lord of all the worlds. I convey 
to you the messages of my Lord and I am a faithful adviser 
to you. ' (7 ; 66—8) 


Hud's wisdom 

Hud worked hard to counsel his people. He called 
them with wisdom and kind-heartedness: 'O my people, 

I was your brother and friend yesterday. Don't you know 
me? My brothers! Why do you fear me and flee from me? 

I will not make you any poorer at all. 

O my people , I do not ask you for any wealth. My 
wage falls only on Allah. (11: 29) 

'O my people, what do you have to fear if you 
believe in Allah? Allah will not lessen your riches at all if 
you believe in Him. Allah will bless you in your provision 
and increase it. 

'My people, why are you surprised at my message? 
Allah does not speak to each person individually, telling 
each one to do this and to do that. Allah sends to every 
people a man from among them to speak to them and 
advise them. Do you wonder that a reminder from your 
Lord should come to you by means of a man from among 
you that he may warn you?' (7: 69) 

Hud's belief 

The 'Ad could not think of an answer. So they said, 
'Our gods are angry with you. You have been afflicted by 
a mental disease, A curse from the gods has struck you/ 

Hud said, 'These idols are only stones. They cannot 
help or hurt anyone; they neither speak nor hear nor see. 
They do not possess good or evil, they have no power to 
bring harm or benefit for anyone. 

'You yourselves do not possess any benefit or harm 
for me. I do not believe in your gods and I do not fear 
them. / am quit of what you associate. (11: 54) And 1 do 
not fear you either. Try your guile on me , all together. 


Truly , / /we put my trust in Allah , my Lord and your Lord . 
(1 1 : 56) 

'Everything is under His control. Not even a single 
leaf falls from a tree without His permission/ 

The 'Ad's stubbornness 

The 'Ad heard all that, but still they did not believe. 
Hud's wisdom and good advice were wasted on them. 
They said, 'Hud, you have no proof or evidence! Hud, 
we will not abandon our ancient gods because of your 
new talk. Should we leave the gods our fathers worshipped 
for something someone says? Never! 

'Hud, you do not believe in our gods and you do 
not fear them. Well, we do not believe in your Cod and 
we do not fear His punishment. You are always talking 
about the punishment, so where is it, Hud? When will it 

Hud said, 'The knowledge is with Allah. I am a 
dear warner. ' (67: 26) 

They said, 'We are waiting for that punishment and 
want to see it/ 

Hud was astonished at their impudence; his heart 
filled with sadness at their foolishness. 

The punishment 

The 'Ad looked into the sky for the rain they needed. 
They looked every day. They looked at the sky and did 
not see a wisp of cloud. They yearned for rain. 

One day, they saw a cloud coming toward them. 
They were very happy and shouted, 'This is a rain cloud! 
This is a rain cloud!' People danced for joy. They called 
out to each other: 'A rain cloud! A rain cloud!' 


But Hud understood that the punishment had 
come. He told them, This is not a cloud of mercy. It is a 
wind containing a painful punishment/ 

So it was. A fierce wind blew whose like the people 
had never seen before. The tempest blew and uprooted 
trees and destroyed houses. It carried up animals and flung 
them far away. The desert sands were blown into the air 
and blacked out everything. No-one could see anything. 

Terror filled the people and they ran into, their 
houses and bolted the doors. The children clung to their 
mothers. People dung to the walls. The children were 
weeping and the women shouting. They were praying and 
begging for help. 

It was as if someone was saying, ' There is no 
protector today from Allah's command. '(11: 43) 

That went on for eight days and seven nights. 

The people were struck down like palm-trees fallen 
to the ground, ft was a terrible sight. The once proud 
people were now only dead bodies and the birds ate them. 
Their grand houses were now only ruins and owls lived in 
them . 

Hud and the believers were saved by their belief. 
The 'Ad were destroyed because of their disbelief and 

The 'Ad rejected their Lord ' So away with the 'Ad, 
the people of Hud! (11: 60) 


3. The Prophet Salih 

After the 'Ad 

The people of Thamud were the heirs to the "Ad 
as they were the heirs to the community of Nuh, The 
Thamud followed after the "Ad as the 'Ad had followed 
after Nuh. The land of Thamud was also a beautiful green 
land of gardens with running rivers and springs. 

The Thamud were the same as the 'Ad in their 
culture and crops and in the vast number of their gardens. 
They excelled the 'Ad in intelligence and skill. They carved 
beautiful and spacious houses out of the mountains, and 
produced wonderful paintings on the stones. They skilfully 
worked stone as others might use soft wax. 

Visitors to their city saw great palaces like moun- 
tains, looking as if they had been built by the jinn, colourful 
flowers painted on the walls looking as fresh as if the spring 
had brought them out. 

Allah poured out blessings both in the heavens and 
the earth for the Thamud. Heaven was generous to them 
with rain. The earth was generous to them with plants and 
flowers. The gardens were generous to them with fruits. 
Allah blessed them in provisions and livelihood. 

The Thamud 's disbelief 

However, none of that moved the people of 


Thamud to be grateful and worship the glory and greatness 
of Allah. It led them to reject Allah and to be unjust. They 
forgot Allah while they rejoiced in what they had been 
given. They would say: "Who is stronger than us?" They 
lived as if they believed that death would never enter their 
palaces and gardens, that they would own and enjoy them 

They thought that death would find no way to reach 
them in their high mountains. They thought that Nuh's 
community had only been drowned because they had 
been in a valley and that the "Ad had been destroyed 
because they lived on a plain. They believed that the 
people of Thamud were in a place safe from fear and death. 

Idol worship 

But the people of Thamud went still further in their 
thanklessness. From the stones they carved they made idols 
and worshipped them, just as the community of Nuh and 
of the "Ad had done. 

Allah had made them masters of stone, but in their 
ignorance they became the slaves of stones. Allah had 
raised them up and provided them with good things, but 
they lowered themselves and dishonoured mankind. Allah 
does not wrong people at all, but people wrong themselves. 
( 10 : 44 ) 

What strange madness! The very stones they 
carved, and with their own hands; stones that could neither 
hear them nor answer them in any way! They abased 
themselves before bits of senseless, lifeless rock and fell 
down in prostration. 

Do the strong worship the weak? Does the master 
prostrate to his slave? But they forgot Allah and forgot 


themselves. They refused to worship Allah, so Allah 
brought down their pride. 

Salih, the messenger 

Allah willed for the people of Thamud a messenger. 
He sent them a messenger as He had sent one to the 
community of Nuh and then to the 'Ad. 

Allah does not like His slaves to reject Him. Allah 
does not like corruption in the earth. 

There was a man among them whose name was 
Salih, He had been born in a noble house and grew up 
intelligent and virtuous. Indeed, he was such a noble and 
sensible youth that people would point him out and say: 
This is Salih! This is Salih!' People had great hopes for him 
and thought that one day he would be one of their noblest 
and wealthiest men. They thought that he would have a 
great castle and a beautiful garden. 

His father thought that his son would obtain great 
wealth through his intelligence and would stand out among 
people. He thought that he would ride on a fine horse 
followed by servants. People would greet him and say, 
This is the son of So-and-so!' How happy he imagined he 
would be when he heard people saying that he was most 
fortunate in his son who had become so very rich! 

But Allah willed otherwise. Allah wanted to honour 
Salih with prophethood and to send him to his people to 
bring them out of the darkness into the light. What honour 
is greater, what nobility is higher, than that? 

Salih's call 

Salih stood up among his people, saying in his 


loudest voice, 'O my people , worship Allah. You have no 
god but Him/ ( 11: 61) 

The rich people were busy eating and drinking, 
playing and amusing themselves. They worshipped idols 
and thought that there was no other god. 

They did not like Salih's call. The wealthy men of 
Thamud became angry and exclaimed, 'Who is this?' 

The servants replied, 'This is Salih/ 

They asked, 'What does he say?' 

They said, 'He says: "Worship Allah. You have no 
god but Him." I le says that Allah will raise you up after 
your death and repay you. He says: "I am Allah's 
messenger. He has sent me to my people.'" 

The rich people laughed and said, 'A pauper! Can 
this man be a messenger? He has neither palace nor garden. 
He has neither crops nor palm-trees. How can he be a 

The propaganda of the rich 

The rich of Thamud saw that some of the people 
inclined towards Salih. They feared for their position of 
leadership and said, ' This is nothing but a mortal like 
yourselves, who eats what you eat and drinks what you 
drink. If you obey a mortal like yourselves , you will be 
losers. What, does he promise you that when you are dead 
and become dust and bones, that you will be brought 
forth? Away, away with what you are promised! There is 
nothing but the life of this world. We live and we die and 
we shall not be raised up. 

He is only a mortal who has forged lies against 
Allah and we do not believe him. ' (23; 33—8) 


'Our opinion was wrong' 

The people rejected Salih and did not believe him. 
When Salih warned them and told them not to worship 
idols, they said: 'Salih, you used to be such a noble and 
sensible youth. We thought that you would become one 
of our great men and nobles. We thought that you would 
be like So-and-so and So-and-so. You have turned out to 
be a nobody. Those who were the same age as you and 
not as intelligent as you have become famous and powerful. 
But you, Salih, you chose the path of poverty. We were 
wrong in our opinion of you. We are disappointed in our 
hopes for you. 

'Your poor father! He did not receive any good 
from you. Your poor mother! Her efforts on you were 

Salih heard all of this and was sad for his people. 

When Salih passed by them, they would say: 'May 
Allah show mercy to Salih's father. His son is wasted/ 

Salih's advice 

Salih kept on giving advice to his people and calling 
them to Allah with wisdom and kind-heartedness. He said: 
'My brothers, do you think you will be here forever? Do 
you think that you will live in these houses forever? Do 
you think that you will remain in these gardens and by 
these rivers? That you will always eat from these crops and 
trees? That you will always carve houses out of these 
mountains? Never! That will never be! 

'Why did your fathers die, my brothers? They too 
had palaces and they too had gardens and springs. They 
too used to carve houses out of the mountains. But none 
of that helped them. None of that protected them! 


The Angel of Death came to them and found a 
way to reach them. So you will also die and Allah will 
raise you up again and question you a bout these blessings/ 

i do not ask you for a wage' 

Salih said, 'My brothers! Why do you run away 
from me? What do you fear? I will not lessen your wealth 
at all. I do not ask you for anything. I advise you and 
convey to you the messages of my Lord. 

7 do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage falls 
only on Allah , the Lord of all the worlds. (26: 145) 

'My brothers! Why don't you obey me when I am 
a faithful adviser to you? Why do you obey those who 
oppress people and consume their property, those who 
have given themselves up to easy living and corrupt the 
land, and who do not put things right?' 

The people were dumbfounded and could think of 
no answer, instead, they said, 'You are one of the sorcerers. 
You are only a mortal like us , so bring a sign if you are 
speaking the truth . ' (26: 1 53 — 4) 

The camel of Allah 

Salih asked, 'What sign do you want?' 

They said, 'If you are speaking the truth, then bring 
out a pregnant camel from this mountain!' 

They knew that camels are only born from camels 
and that a camel does not grow out of the ground nor is 
it produced from stone. They were sure that Salih would 
be unable to do it. Then they would win! 

But Salih had great faith in his Lord. He knew that 
Allah had the power to do anything. 


Salih called on his Lord. All that the people had 
asked for was done. A pregnant she-came! came out of 
the mountain and gave birth. 

The people were confused and astonished. But only 
one of them believed. 

The arrangement 

Salih then said, This is the she-camel from Allah. 
It is the sign of Allah. You asked and He created it for 
you by His power. So respect this camel. Do not touch 
her with evil Zest you be seized by a near punishment 
( 11 : 64 ) 

This camel should be allowed to eat and drink in 
the land of Allah and to come and go freely. You do not 
need to provide it with drink or fodder, there is plenty/ 

The camel was very large indeed and very unusual 
in form. The other camels were afraid of It. Whenever the 
camel came and drank, the other camels shied and ran 

Salih saw that and said, This camel will come one 
day and your camels the next day. One day, this camel 
will drink and the next day your camels will drink/ 

That is how the bounds were arranged between 
Salih and the people of Thamud regarding the camel. 
When it was the camel's turn, it went and drank. When 
it was the people's camels' turn, they went and drank. For 
a time these bounds were kept. 

The Thamud's injustice 

But the Thamud were proud and broke the agree- 
ment. They said, 'Why can't our camels drink every day?' 


They were angry at this camel from which their camels 
shied away* Salih had warned them to be gentle with this 
camel. But they did not heed the warning. They asked one 
another, Who will get rid of this camel?' 

A man stood up and said, 1 will!' Another stood 
up and said, 'I will!' 

The two wretched men went and waited for the 
camel. When the she-camel came near, the first man 
brought her down with an arrow. The second man finished 
her off. 

The punishment 

When Salih learned that the she-camel had been 
killed, he was very sad indeed. He told the people, 'Enjoy 
yourselves in your homes for three days . That is a promise 
not to be denied . '(11: 65) 

In the city nine evil-minded men who spread evil 
and corruption in the land plotted together to get rid of 
Salih. They said: 'We will kill Salih and his family at night. 
We will not be seen. So, if we are questioned about it, we 
will say, "We don't know anything."' 

But Allah protected Salih and his family. 

On the third day, the punishment came to the 
Thamud. As they woke up in the morning there was a 
Shout accompanied by a great earthquake. Their hearts 
were broken by the Shout and their houses were destroyed 
by the earthquake. It was a terrible day for the Thamud. 
All the unbelieving people died and the city was destroyed. 

Salih and the believers left that wretched city. What 
could they have done there if they had stayed? 

As Salih left, he looked sadly at the remains of his 
people. Now they were only corpses. He said with great 


sadness: O my people! I conveyed the message of my 
Lord to you and I advised you sincerely . But you do not 
love sincere advisers , ' (7; 79) 

Today, in the place where the Thamud dwelt, there 
are only empty castles and disused wells. There are only 
deserted villages. 

When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him 
and grant him peace, passed by the dwelling places of the 
Thamud on his way to Syria, he told his Companions, 'Do 
not enter the houses of those who wronged themselves 
unless you enter weeping, fearing that the like of what 
befell them might befall you/ 

The Thamud rejected their Lord . So away with the 
Thamud! (11: 68) 


4, The Prophet Ibrahim 

The idol-seller 

In a city, long, long ago, there lived a very famous 
man whose name was Azar. He was famous because he 
was a seller of idols. 

In a huge building in* the middle of the city, the 
people kept lots of idols and bowed down before them, 
Azar was no different. He also would bow down before 
these idols, and worship them. 

Azar's son 

Azar had a son called Ibrahim who was very 
intelligent. Ibrahim would see the people bowing down 
before the idols. He knew that the idols were made of 
stone and could not speak or hear. 

He knew that the idols could neither help nor harm 
anything. He saw flies sit on them without being driven 
away and mice eat the food left for the idols without any 

So Ibrahim would ask himself, 'Why do people 
worship the idols? Why do they ask the idols for things?' 

Ibrahim's advice 

Ibrahim would say to his father; 'Father, why do 
you worship these idols? Why do you bow down to them? 


'Father, why do you ask these idols for things, when 
they can neither speak nor hear? They can neither help 
nor harm anything, so why do you put food and drink 
before them? Why, when they cannot eat or drink?' 

Azar became angry and did not understand what 
all these questions meant. 

Ibrahim tried to give his people the same advice, 
but they became angry and did not understand what he 
meant either. 

Ibrahim said, 1 will smash the idols when the people 
are away. Then they will understand me.' 

Ibrahim breaks the idols 

When the day of their festival came, the people 
rejoiced and set out for the celebrations along with their 

Ibrahim's father, ready to set out, asked Ibrahim: 
'Why don't you come with us?' 

Ibrahim replied: 'No, I am not feeling well.' 

So, when Ibrahim was left alone at home, he went 
out to the huge building where the idols were kept, and 
spoke to the Idols. He said: 'How is it that you don't speak? 
How is it that you don't hear? There is food and drink 
here. Why don't you eat? Why don't you drink?' 

The idols were silent because they were stones 
which of course cannot speak. 

I b ra h i m sa id , ' What is stopping you from speaking V 
(37: 92) When the idols remained silent, Ibrahim became 
angry and grabbed an axe. 

He hit the idols with the axe and smashed them all 
except one. He left the largest idol standing there and hung 
the axe round its neck. 


'Who did this?' 

The people came back and went into the building 
where the idols were kept. They were especially keen to 
bow down before the idols because it was the day of their 
big festival. They were amazed and dumbfounded, bitter 
and angry at what they saw. 

'Who has done this to our gods!' they cried. Then 
some of them said: 'We heard a young man called Ibrahim 
talking about them. ' {21 : 59-60) 

When Ibrahim was brought to them, they said, 'Are 
you the one who did this to our gods?' (21 : 62) 

Ibrahim, pointing to the largest idol, answered 
calmly: 'But this > their chief has done it. Question them if 
they are able to speak . ' (21 : 63) 

The people knew that the idols were made of stone 
and that stones cannot hear or speak. They knew that the 
largest idol was made of stone and that it could not move, 
so it could not have broken the other idols. 

They said to Ibrahim, 'You know that idols cannot 
speak.' And so he asked them: 'So how can you worship 
idols when they can neither help nor harm anything? Don't 
you understand anything? Don't you have any sense at all?' 

The people were as silent as the idols, and ashamed. 

A cool fire 

The people met and said, 'What shall we do? 
Ibrahim has broken the idols and humiliated the gods. 
How should we punish him? How should we pay him 
back for what he has done?' 

The answer was, ' Bum him and stand by your 
gods/ (21: 68) 


That is what they did. They lit a fire and threw 
Ibrahim into it. 

But Allah helped Ibrahim and said to the fire, ' Fire , 
be coolness and safety to Ibrahim . ' (21 : 68) 

And so it was. The fire was coolness and safety for 
Ibrahim. The people saw that the fire did not hurt Ibrahim 
and they saw that he was not harmed by the smoke and 
the flames. 

Once again, they were amazed and confused. 

'Who is my Lord?' 

That night Ibrahim saw a star and he said. This is 
my Lord/ When the star set, Ibrahim exclaimed, 'No! This 
is not my Lord!' Ibrahim saw the moon and he said, This 
is my Lord/ When the moon set, Ibrahim exclaimed, 'No! 
This is not my Lord!' The sun rose and Ibrahim said, This 
is my Lord . This is greater / (6; 78) When the sun set, 
Ibrahim exclaimed, 'No! This is not my Lord! Allah is my 
Lord, He is always living and does not die, The light of 
Allah shines always and never dims and never sets. Allah 
is All-Mighty, nothing can overcome Him. The light of the 
stars is weak, morning overcomes it. The light of the moon 
is weak, the sun overcomes it. The light of the sun is weak, 
night overcomes it and clouds overcome it. Stars cannot 
help me because they are weak. The moon cannot help 
me because it is weak. The sun cannot help me because 
it is weak. Allah alone can help me/ 

'My Lord is Allah' 

Ibrahim knew that Allah was his Lord, for Allah is 
always living and does not die; His light shines always and 


never dims nor sets, Allah is All-Mighty, nothing can 
overcome Him, 

Ibrahim knew that Allah is the Lord of the stars, and 
the Lord of the moon, and the Lord of the sun, and the 
Lord of all the worlds that may be. 

Thus Allah guided Ibrahim and made him a Prophet 
and His close friend. Allah commanded Ibrahim to call his 
people and tell them not to worship idols. 

Ibrahim's call 

Ibrahim carried out the command of his Lord. He 
asked his people: What do you worship?' 

We worship idols/ { 26: 71) they said. 

Ibrahim asked them: 'Do they hear you when you 
call? Or help or harm you V 

They said, We found our fathers doing that ' (26: 


Ibrahim said: 'I do not worship these idols. Rather, 

I am the enemy of these idols. I worship the Lord of all 
the worlds, the One who created me and who guides me, 
the One who gives me food and drink, the One who heals 
me when I am ill, and the One who makes me die and 
brings me to life . (26: 78—81) 

But idols do not create and do not guide. They do 
not give anyone food or drink. When someone is ill, they 
do not heal him. They do not make anyone die nor bring 
anyone to life/ 

Before the King 

A great king ruled that city, and he ruled like a cruel 
tyrant. People had to bow down before him. When the 


King heard that Ibrahim prostrated himself only before Allah 
and would not prostrate himself before anyone else, he 
became angry and sent for him* Ibrahim came straighta- 
way: he did not fear anyone except Allah. 

The King asked: 'Who is your Lord, Ibrahim?' 
Ibrahim said: 'My Lord is Allah/ 

The King asked: 'Who is Allah, Ibrahim?' 

Ibrahim said: 'The One Who gives life and death. ' 
(2: 258) 

The King said: 7 give life and death . 7 (2: 258) Then 
he had a man brought before him and had him killed. 
Then he had another man brought before him and let him 
live. After that, very proudly, he said: 'You seel I give life 
and death. I killed one man and let the other man live/ 
The King was very silly. AH idol- worshippers are 
foolish in such matters. Ibrahim wanted to make the King 
understand. He wanted to make all his people understand. 

He said to the King: 'Allah brings the sun from the 
east. Now you bring it from the west/ 

The King was confused and silent. He was ashamed 
and could think of nothing to say. 

Calling his father to Allah 

Ibrahim also wanted to call his father to Allah. He 
said to him: 'O my father, why do you worship something 
that does not hear or see? Why do you worship something 
that cannot help or harm anyone? My father , do not 
worship Satan! (19: 44) Worship the Merciful!' 

Ibrahim's father became angry and said, 1 will beat 
you. Leave me alone. Do not talk to me/ 

Ibrahim was patient. He said to his father, 'Peace 
be upon you. I will leave this place and call on my Lord/ 


Ibrahim was very sad. He wanted to go to another 
country only so that he could worship his Lord and call 
people to Allah in peace. 

To Makka 

Ibrahim's people had become angry. The King had 
become angry. Even Ibrahim's father had become angry. 

Ibrahim decided to travel to a different land where 
he could worship Allah and call people to Allah in peace. 
He said good-bye to his father and left his land. 

Ibrahim made for Makka with his wife Hajar. There 
were no plants or trees in Makka, no well or river, and no 
animals or people, 

Ibrahim reached Makka and stayed there for a time. 
After that, he left his wife Hajar and his son Isma'iL When 
he was about to leave, his wife asked: 'Where are you 
going? Are you going to leave us here? Are you going to 
leave us here when there is no food nor water? Has Allah 
commanded you to do this?' 

Ibrahim said, 'Yes.' 

Hajar said. Then He will not let us die.' 

The well of Zamzam 

Isma'il became thirsty and his mother wanted to 
give him some water. But where was there any water? 
There was no well in Makka! There was no river in Makka! 
Hajar looked for water; she ran from Safa to Marwa and 
from Marwa to Safa. 

Allah helped Hajar and Isma'il. He created water 
for them. Water sprang out of the ground and Isma'il and 
Hajar drank from it. The water remained there and became 


known as the well of Zamzam. Allah has blessed the water 
of Zamzam. This is the well from which people drink during 
the Hajj\ They take the Zamzam water back to their own 
countries to share with their families and friends. Have you 
drunk Zamzam water? 

Ibrahim's dream 

Some time later Ibrahim returned to Makka and 
rejoined Isma'il and Hajar. Ibrahim was very happy with 
his young son Isma'il. He ran and played and went about 
with his father who loved Isma'il deeply. 

One night Ibrahim had a dream. He dreamt that 
he sacrificed Isma'il. 

Ibrahim was a truthful Prophet. His dream was a 
true dream. Ibrahim was a close friend of Allah and he 
decided to do what Allah had commanded him to do in 
the dream. But first he asked of Isma'il: 7 have seen in a 
dream that I must sacrifice you. So what do you think f' 

He said ' 'My father, do what you are commanded, 
Allah willing , you will find me one of the steadfast. '07: 1 02) 

Ibrahim took Isma'il with him, and a knife. 

When Ibrahim reached Mina, he made ready to 
sacrifice Isma'il. Isma'il lay down on the ground and 
Ibrahim was about to sacrifice him. He put the knife against 
Isma'il 's throat. Allah wanted to see if His friend would do 
what he was commanded to do. Did he love Allah more 
or did he love his son more? 

When Ibrahim had passed the test, Allah sent Jibril 
with a ram from the Garden. He said: 'Sacrifice this ram. 
Do not sacrifice Isma'il/ 

Allah liked what Ibrahim had done. So He com- 
manded the Muslims to make a sacrifice in remembrance 
on the 'Id al-Adha. 


May Allah bless Ibrahim, the close friend of Allah 
and grant him peace. 

The Ka'ba 

Ibrahim left Makka a second time and returned a 
second time. He decided to build a house for Allah. There 
were many houses, but there was no house for Allah where 
He alone was worshipped. 

Isma'il wanted to help build this house for Allah. 
So father and son both worked, carrying stones from the 
mountains around Makka, and built the Ka'ba with their 
own hands. 

Ibrahim would always remember Allah and call on 
Him. He said: 'Our Lord \ accept this from us! You are the 
All-Hearing, the All-Seeing!' ( 2: 127) 

Allah accepted it from Ibrahim and Isma'il, and 
blessed the Ka'ba. 

We Muslims face the Ka'ba in every prayer. We 
travel to the Ka'ba during the Hajj, and go around it in 
tawaf and pray there. 

May Allah bless Ibrahim and grant him peace! May 
Allah bless Isma'il and grant him peace! May Allah bless 
Muhammad and grant him peace! 


Ibrahim had another wife whose name was Sarah. 

By Sarah, Ibrahim had another son whose name 
was Ishaq. Ibrahim and Ishaq lived in Palestine. Ishaq built 
a house for Allah in Palestine just as his father and brother 
had built a house for Allah in Makka. 

Th is mosque which Ishaq built in Palestine is in 


Jerusalem. It is the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Allah blessed the 
land around it. 

Allah blessed the sons of Ishaq as He blessed the 
sons of Ismail. There were Prophets and kings among 
them. Ishaq had a son whose name was Ya'qub. He was 
a Prophet. Ya'qub had twelve sons, including Yusuf ibn 
Ya'qub. The wonderful story of Yusuf is in the Qur'an. 
Here is that story. 


5. The Prophet Yusuf 

A wonderful dream 

Yusuf was a young boy, both handsome and 
intelligent. He had eleven brothers. His father Ya'qub loved 
him more than any of his other sons. 

One night Yusuf had a wonderful dream. He saw 
eleven stars and the sun and the moon all bowing down 
to him. He was quite amazed by the dream. What did it 
mean? How could the stars, the sun and the moon bow 
down to a man? Young Yusuf went to his father Ya'qub 
and told him about his dream. 

He said, ' Father , / saw eleven stars , the sun and the 
moon in a dream. I sa w them bowing down to me. "(12:4) 

Ya'qub was a Prophet and understood. He was 
very happy about this dream. He said, 'Allah has blessed 
you, Yusuf. Something great will happen to you. This 
dream contains the good news that you will be given 
knowledge and prophecy. Allah blessed your grandfather, 
Ishaq, and He blessed your ancestor, Ibrahim. He will 
bless you and He will bless the family of Ya'qub.' 

Ya'qub was an old man who knew about human 
nature. He knew how Satan can confuse and overcome 

He said: 'My son, do not tell any of your brothers 
about your dream. They will envy you and become your 


The brothers' envy 

Yusuf had another brother by the same mother. His 
name was Benyamin. Ya'qub loved them both very much. 
He did not love anyone as much as he loved them. 

The brothers were jealous of Yusuf and Benyamin 
and were very bitter. They would say: 'Why does our 
father love Yusuf and Benyamin more than us? Why does 
he love them when they are young and weak? Why doesn't 
he love us as much, when we are strong young men? This 
is very strange indeed.' 

Yusuf was young and innocent. He told his brothers 
about his dream. The brothers got very angry indeed when 
they heard about it, and became even more jealous. 

One day the brothers got together and said: If we 
kill Yusuf or drive him away to some distant land, then we 
will have our father's love all to ourselves and he will Jove 
only us.' 

One of them said: 'No! Throw him into a well 
beside the road. Then some travellers will take him.' 

Finally, the brothers agreed to that plan. 

A delegation to Ya'qub 

Then, the ten brothers went to Ya'qub. Ya'qub was 
very afraid for Yusuf. He knew that the brothers were 
jealous of him and did not love him, so he would not allow 
Yusuf to go away with them. Yusuf used to play with his 
brother Benyamin but he did not go far away. The brothers 
knew this, but they had decided to do something wicked. 

They said: 'Father, why won't you allow Yusuf to 
come with us? What are you afraid of? He is our dear, little 
brother. We are the sons of the same father. Brothers 


always play together, so why don't we? Send him with us 
tomorro w to frolic and play . We will watch o ver him, '(12:12) 

Ya'qub was an old man, intelligent and wise, and 
patient. He did not want Yusuf to go far away from him 
because he was very much afraid for him. He told his sons, 
7 fear that the wolf may eat him while you are neglecting 
him/ (12: 13) 

They said, 'Never! How can the wolf eat him while 
we are there? How could it eat him when we are strong 
young men?' 

In the end Ya'qub gave Yusuf permission to go with 
his brothers. 

To the wilderness 

The brothers were very happy when Ya'qub gave 
Yusuf permission to go with them. They took Yusuf into 
the wilderness and threw him into a well there. They 
showed no mercy to little Yusuf. They showed no mercy 
to their father Ya'qub either. 

Yusuf was all alone in the deep, dark well. But Allah 
told him: 'Do not be sad. Do not be afraid. Allah is with 
you. Something great will happen to you. Your brothers 
will come before you and you will tell them what they did. ' 

After the brothers had thrown Yusuf into the well, 
they got together and said: 'What shall we tell our father?' 

One of them said: 'Our father said, "I fear that a 
wolf may eat him." We will tell him, "You were right, 
father, a wolf did eat him.'" The brothers agreed: 'Yes, 
we will tell him, "Father, the wolf ate him/" 

One of the brothers then asked: 'But what proof 
will we have for that?' The others answered: 'Blood will 
provide evidence/ 


The brothers caught a ram and killed it. Then they 
took Yusufs shirt and dipped it in the blood. They were 
very pleased with themselves. They said: 'Now our father 
will believe us.' 

Before Ya'qub 

They came weeping to their father in the evening. 
They said: ' father , we went running races and left Yusuf 
with our bags and the wolf ate him . ' (12: 17) 

They brought his shirt with false blood on it (12: 
18) They said: This is Yusufs blood/ 

Their father Ya'qub was a Prophet and an old man, 
much wiser than his sons. Ya'qub knew that when a wolf 
eats someone, it rips his clothes. 

Yusufs shirt was whole, it had only been dipped 
in blood. So Ya'qub knew that it was not Yusufs blood 
and that the story about the wolf had been made up. He 
told his sons: This is a story that you have made up. 
Patience is good/ { 12: 18) Ya'qub was sad indeed about 
Yusuf, but he had plenty of patience. 

Yusuf in the well 

The brothers had returned home, leaving Yusuf in 
the well. They had eaten and now slept in their beds. 
Yusuf, all alone in the well had neither slept nor eaten. 
The brothers forgot about Yusuf. But Yusuf did not sleep 
and he did not forget anyone. 

Ya'qub kept thinking about Yusuf and Yusuf kept 
thinking about Ya'qub. It was a terrible time for Yusuf in 
that deep well, out in the wilderness, hidden far down in 


From the well to the palace 

A group of people were travelling to Egypt through 
that wilderness. They were thirsty and looking for water. 
They saw the well and sent a man to it to bring them some 

The man came to the well and let down the bucket. 
He pulled the bucket up and there was a boy in it! Surprised, 
the man called out: # Good news! Here is a boy!' (12: 18) 
The people hid Yusuf among their merchandise 
until they had travelled out of the area. When they got to 
Egypt, they stood in the market shouting: 'Who will buy 
this hoy? Who will buy this boy?' 

The Aziz* of Egypt bought Yusuf for a few silver 
coins. The merchants who sold him did not recognize the 
worth of Yusuf. The Aziz took him to his palace and told 
his wife: 'Treat Yusuf well. He is an intelligent boy/ 

Faithfulness and trustworthiness 

The wife of the Aziz was attracted to Yusuf. But 
Yusuf refused her advances and said: 'No! I will not break 
my master's trust. He has been good to me and he has 
treated me well. I fear Allah/ 

The wife of the Aziz became angry and complained 
to her husband, but he knew that she was lying. He knew 
that Yusuf was trustworthy. He told his wife: ' You are one 
of those who are in error. "(12: 29) 

Yusuf was well-known in Egypt for his good looks. 
When anyone saw him, they would say, ' This is no mortal! 
He can only be a noble angel!' (12: 31 ) 

*'Azi i signified a mighty person, a king etc., and was the title given to those 
who ruled Misr and Alexandria. 


The wife of the Aziz became very angry indeed 
when Yusuf kept refusing her and she said to him: 'Then 
you will go to prison!' 

Yusuf said, 7 prefer prison. '(12: 33) 

A few days later, the Aziz decided it was better to 
send Yusuf to prison. He knew that Yusuf was innocent, 
but even so Yusuf went to prison. 

The warning in the prison 

The people in the prison knew that Yusuf was a 
noble young man with great knowledge and a merciful 
heart. They loved and respected him. 

Two other prisoners told Yusuf about their dreams. 
One of them said: 7 dreamed that l was pressing grapes . ' 
The other said: 7 dreamed that f was carrying bread on 
my head and the birds were eating from it/ ( 12: 36) 

They asked Yusuf to tell them the meaning of their 
dreams. Yusuf knew the meaning of dreams since he was 
a Prophet. 

In Yusufs time, people worshipped things other 
than Allah. They said: This is the lord of the earth. This is 
the lord of the sea. This is the lord of crops. This is the 
lord of rain.' 

Yusuf would hear all that nonsense and weep for 
the ignorance of the people. He wanted to call people to 
the worship of Allah, 

Allah wanted that to happen also in the prison. Did 
not the people in prison deserve to be warned? Did not 
they deserve mercy too? Are not the people in prison slaves 
of Allah, are not they too sons of Adam? 

Even in prison Yusuf was free and brave in spirit. 
He was poor but generous and open-hearted. The Prophets 

proclaim the truth everywhere because the truth is a 
blessing, and the Prophets are generous with blessings in 
every time and place. 

Yusufs wisdom 

Yusuf said to himself: 'Need has driven these two 
men to me. The person who is in need is more open and 
humble. The person who is in need hears and obeys. If I 
teach these men something now, they will listen, and the 
people of the prison will also listen/ 

So Yusuf did not rush to answer their questions. He 
said: 7 will tell you its interpretation before your food is 
brought to you . 7 (12: 37) 

The two men sat down and were calm. Then Yusuf 
said to them: 1 know how to interpret dreams. That is part 
of what my Lord has taught me . 7 

The men were content to wait and listened patiently. 
Yusuf began his warning. 

The warning of tawhid 

Yusuf said: 'That is part of what my Lord has taught 
me. But Allah does not give His knowledge to everyone. 
Allah does not give His knowledge to an idol-worshipper. 
Do you know why my Lord has taught me? Because I have 
left the path of idol-worship and I have followed the religion 
of my fathers , Ibrahim , Ishaq and Ya'qub. It is not proper 
for us to associate anything with Allah. ' 

Yusuf said: This tawhid does not belong only to 
us. It is for all people. That is part of Allah's bounty to us 
and to mankind, but most people are not thankful. 7 {12: 38) 

Here Yusuf stopped and asked them: 'You say: "The 


Lord of the earth and the Lord of the sea and the Lord of 
crops and the Lord of rain/' We say: "Allah, the Lord of 
the Universe/' 

Which is better ; many different gods or Allah , the 
One , the All-Powerful? (12: 39) 

'Where is the Lord of the earth, the Lord of the sea, 
the Lord of crops and the Lord of the rain? Show me what 
they have created in the earth or do they have any share 
in the heavens? 

'Look at the earth and at the heaven. Look at man. 
This is the creation of Allah. Show me what these others 
have created. 

'How can there be a Lord of the earth, a Lord of 
the sea, a Lord of crops and a Lord of the rain? They are 
only names you yourselves have named, you and your 

'Judgement belongs to Allah. The Kingdom belongs 
to Allah. The earth belongs to A Hah . The command belongs 
to Allah. 

Worship Him alone. 

That is the right religion, but most people do not 
know/ (12: 40) 

The meaning of the dreams 

When Yusuf finished warning them, he told them 
the meaning of their dreams. He said, 'As for one of you, 
he will pour wine for his ford. As for the other, he will be 
crucified and the birds will eat from his head/ (12; 41) 
Then he said to the first man : 'Mention me in the presence 
of your lord/ (12: 42) 

The two men left. The first became a wine-bearer 
to the King, The other man was crucified. The wine-bearer 


forgot to mention Yusuf in the presence of the King, so 
Yusuf remained in prison for several years. 

The King's dream 

The King of Egypt had a strange dream. He saw in 
the dream seven fat cows eaten up by seven thin cows. 
The King also saw seven green ears of corn, then seven 
withered ears. 

The King was puzzled by this strange dream and 
asked his companions what it meant. But they only said: 
It is nothing. When someone is asleep, he sees many 
things which are not real/ 

But the wine-bearer said: "Not so. I will tell you the 
meaning of this dream/ 

The wine-bearer then went to the prison and asked 
Yusuf the meaning of the King's dream. Yusuf was noble 
and generous, kind and understanding to Allah's creatures. 
He not only explained the meaning of the dream, he also 
explained what should be done about it. He said: "You 
should plant your crops for seven years and leave the grain 
you harvest in the ear except for a little which you eat. 
After that will come a drought of seven years. After that 
help will come and the people will have plenty/ 

The wine-bearer went to the King and told him the 
meaning of his dream. 

The King sends for Yusuf 

When the King heard all that, he was very relieved 
and happy. He asked: 'Who told you the meaning of the 
dream? Who is this noble man who has given us this advice 
and shown us what to do?' 


The wine-bearer said: It is Yusuf the truthful. He is 
the one who told me that 1 would be a wine-bearer to my 
master, the King/ 

The King wanted to meet Yusuf and sent for him. 
He said: 'Bring him to me! I would attach him to myself. f 
( 12 : 54 ) 

Yusuf asks for an inquiry into his case 

The messenger came to Yusuf and gave him the 
King's summons. But Yusuf was not ready to leave prison 
in that way. People would say: This is Yusuf! He was in 
prison only the other day. He was unfaithful to the Aziz/ 

Yusuf was proud and firm, intelligent and wise. Not 
many people in his place could have been so. If they had 
been, as Yusuf was, in prison for many years, and then a 
messenger from the King had come to them and said: The 
King has summoned you and is waiting for you/ they 
would have rushed to leave the prison. 

But Yusuf told the King's messenger: 'Before I leave 
prison I want an inquiry into my case/ 

The King ordered an investigation into Yusufs case 
and this proved that Yusuf was innocent. So Yusuf left 
prison an innocent man. The King received him with 

Yusuf the ruler in charge of Egypt's grain storehouses 

Yusuf knew that some people were not trustworthy, 
that they cheated a lot. In Egypt there were many 
storehouses for grain, but there was no grain in them. They 
were empty because the people who ran them were not 
trustworthy, they did not fear Allah. Their dogs would eat 


while the common people had nothing. Their houses 
would be smartly decorated while the common people 
had nothing to wear. 

The common people could never benefit from 
Egypt's grain storehouses unless a guardian with knowledge 
was put in charge of them. A guardian without knowledge 
would not know how to run them wisely. Someone who 
had knowledge but was not an honest guardian would 
cheat the people and use the storehouses for his own 

Yusuf was an honest man and he had knowledge. 
He did not want to see the authorities ignoring the people's 
rights any more. He could not bear to see people starve. 

Yusuf was not ashamed of the truth. He told the 
King: 'Set me over the treasuries of the fond. I am a knowing 
guardian/ (12: 55) 

That is how Yusuf was put in charge of the grain 
storehouses of Egypt. The common people were very 
relieved and praised Allah. 

Yusufs brothers come 

Just as Yusuf had foretold, there was indeed a 
famine in Egypt and Palestine. The people of Palestine 
heard that there was a merciful man in Egypt, a generous 
and noble man, in charge of the storehouses of the land, 
someone to whom people could go and get food. So 
Ya'qub sent his older sons to Egypt with money to buy food. 

Benyamin stayed with his father because Ya'qub 
loved him very much. He did not want to be far from him. 
Ya'qub was afraid for him as he had been afraid for Yusuf. 

Yusufs brothers set out to meet the noble man of 
Egypt, not knowing that he was their own brother, Yusuf. 


They thought that Yusuf was dead. How could he not be 
dead when they had thrown him into that deep, dark well, 
way out in the wilderness. 

Yusufs brothers came and went to him. He knew 
them , but they did not know him . (12: 58} 

Yusuf remembered how they had thrown him into 
the well, how they had wanted to kill him. But Allah had 
saved him. Yusuf did not say anything to them. He did 
not disgrace them. 

Yusuf and his brothers 

Yusuf spoke to the brothers for a time and then 
asked: 'Where are you from?' 

'From Canaan/ they replied. 

He asked: 'Who is your father?' 

'Ya'qub, son of Ishaq, son of Ibrahim, peace and 
blessings be upon them.' 

He asked, 'Do you have another brother?' 

'Yes,' they replied. 'We have a brother whose name 
is Benyamin.' 

He asked: 'Why didn't he come with you?' 

'Because/ they explained, 'our father would not let 
him. He does not like him to be far from him.' 

Yusuf asked: 'Why won't he let him go? Is he a 
very young child?' 

'No, but he had a brother named Yusuf. He once 
went with us and we went to run races and left Yusuf with 
our bags. A wolf ate him/ 

Yusuf laughed to himself, but he did not say 
anything. He longed to see his brother Benyamin. 

Allah had prepared another test for Ya'qub, the 
father of all the brothers. 


Yusuf ordered that they be given food. Then he 
told them, 'Bring me your brother from your father : (12: 
59) If you do not bring him, you will not get any more food/ 
Then Yusuf had their money secretly put back in 
their bags. 

Ya'qub and his sons 

The ten brothers went back to their father and told 
him the news. They said to him: 'Send our brother 
Benyamin with us. If you don't, we will not get any more 
food from the Aziz/ They told Ya'qub, 'We will watch 
over him. ' (12: 63) 

Ya'qub said: 'Shall / entrust him to you other than 
the way I entrusted to you before ? (12: 64) Have you 
forgotten the story of Yusuf? Will you watch over Benyamin 
the way you watched over Yusuf? Allah is the best watcher. 
He is the most Merciful of the Merciful. ' (1 2: 64) 

The brothers then found their money in their bags 
and told their father: The Aziz is a generous man. He has 
given us our money back. He did not charge us anything! 
Send Benyamin with us and we will also get his share/ 
Ya'qub told them: 'I will not send him with you 
until you make a pledge by Allah that you will bring him 
back unless you are overcome/ 

They made a pledge by Allah. Ya'qub said: 'Allah 
is the Guardian over what we say . '(12: 66) 

Then Ya'qub advised them: 'My sons, do not enter 
by the same gate . Enter by separate gates , '(12: 67) 

Yusuf meets his brother Benyamin 

When the brothers returned to Egypt to buy more 


food, they entered by separate gates as their father had 
told them to do. 

When Yusuf saw Benyamin, he was very happy 
and had him stay in his house. Yusuf said to Benyamin: 7 
am your brother / (12: 69) Benyamin was very happy to 
meet his brother who he believed had died many years 
before. Yusuf remembered his mother and father, his 
home; his childhood returned to him in awakened 

Yusuf wanted Benyamin to stay with him so that 
he could see him and speak to him every day and ask him 
about his home. But how could he make that happen 
when Benyamin was going back to Canaan the next day, 
when the brothers had made a pledge by Allah that they 
would take him back with them? How could Yusuf keep 
Benyamin with him for no reason? People would say, 'The 
Aziz has detained a Canaanite for no reason. This is a great 

But Yusuf was intelligent and clever. 

He had a precious drinking cup placed secretly 
inside Benyamin's bags. Then, when the brothers left the 
next day, some of Yusufs people went after them. Yusuf 
himself followed a little later, When they caught up with 
the brothers, they proclaimed: 'You are thieves!' 

The brothers were surprised and asked: 'What are 
you missing?' 

They said: We are missing the King's cup . Whoever 
brings it will have a camel's load in return, ' (12: 72) 

The brothers said: 'By Allah , you know that we 
have not come to make trouble in the land. We are not 
thieves/ (12: 73) 

They said: What will its repayment be if you are 
liars/ (12: 73-4) 


The brothers said: Its repayment wifi be the person 
in whose saddle-bag it is found . That is how we repay 
wrongdoers/ (12: 75) 

The cup was found in Benyamin's saddle-bag. The 
brothers were ashamed, but they were without shame 
when they said: 'If Benyamin stole, a brother of his stole 
before.' Yusuf, who had now reached the others, heard 
this lie, but he was silent and did not get angry. He was 
noble and patient. The brothers appealed to him. 

They said: O Aziz ! He has an aged father who is 
very old. Take one of us in his place . We see that you are 
one of those who do good. ' 

He said: Allah forbid that we should take anyone 
except the one in whose possession we found our goods. 
If we did so , we would be wrongdoers . '(12: 78—9) 

So Benyamin stayed behind with Yusuf. The two 
brothers were happy. Yusuf had been alone for a very long 
time without seeing any of his family. Allah had sent 
Benyamin to him. So why should not he keep his brother 
with him so that he could see him and talk to him? 

To Ya'qub 

The brothers were confused. How could they go 
back to their father without Benyamin? The brothers 
thought about what they could tell their father. They had 
made him suffer over Yusuf. Could they now make him 
suffer over Benyamin? 

The oldest of them refused to go back to Ya'qub. 
He told his brothers: 'Co back to your father and say , 
"Father, your son stole . We only testify to what we know. 
We are not guardians of the Unseen. (1 2: 81) 

When Ya'qub heard their story, he knew that Allah 


had had a hand in it, and he understood that Allah was 
testing him. He had been made to suffer over Yusuf before, 
now he was made to suffer over Benyamin. Allah would 
not impose two afflictions on him. Allah would not make 
him suffer over both Yusuf and Benyamin. 

Allah had a hidden hand, and a hidden wisdom, 
in it. In such ways He tests his slaves and then He makes 
them happy and blesses them. 

Also, the oldest son had stayed behind in Egypt, 
refusing to return to Canaan. Would Ya'qub be made to 
suffer over a third son when he had already been made 
to suffer over two sons? It could not be so! 

Finally, when Ya'qub was calm again, he said: 
' Perhaps Allah will bring them all to me. Allah is the 
All- Knowing , the All- Wise.' (1 2: 83} 

The secret disclosed 

Yet, Ya'qub was, after alt, a human being, with a 
soft, human heart in his breast He did not have a piece 
of stone there. So, when he remembered Yusuf, his sorrow 
came flooding back again. He said: 'O my sorrow for 
Yusuf!' { 12: 84) 

His sons were annoyed and said: 'You will keep 
on mentioning Yusuf until you die/ 

Ya'qub said: 7 complain of my grief and sorrow to 
Allah . / know from Allah what you do not know. '(12: 86) 

Ya'qub knew that despair is disbelief. He had great 
hope in Allah. He sent his sons back to Egypt to look for 
Benyamin and Yusuf and to try hard to bring them home. 
Ya'qub forbade them to lose hope in Allah's mercy. 

The brothers arrived in Egypt for the third time. 
They went to Yusuf and complained to him about their 


poverty and affliction. They asked him to be charitable to 

Sorrow and love rose up in Yusuf. He could no 
longer bear to listen to the sons of his own father, the sons 
of Prophets, complaining about their poverty and affliction 
to one of the kings! He thought: How long can 1 conceal 
the truth from them when they are in need? How long can 
I go without seeing my father? Then, he said to them: 'Do 
you know what you did to Yusuf and his brother when 
you were ignorant?' (12: 89) 

The brothers knew that this was a secret known 
only to themselves and to Yusuf, so they knew that this 
Aziz was Yusuf. 

Glory be to Allah! Could Yusuf be alive? He had 
not died in the well! Could Yusuf be the Aziz of Egypt, the 
famous man in charge of the storehouses of the land, the 
one who provided food for them? 

They had no doubt that the one who had spoken 
to them was Yusuf, son of Ya'qub. They said: ' You are 
Yusuf.' (12: 90) 

He answered: 7 am Yusuf and this Benyamin is my 
brother. Allah has been good to us. Whoever fears Allah 
and is patient , Allah will not let the wage of those who do 
good go to waste. ' 

They said: 'By Allah , Allah has certainly preferred 
you above us and we have been in error. '(12; 90-1 ) 

Yusuf did not blame them for what they had done. 
He said: 'May Allah forgive you . He is the Most Merciful 
of the Merciful. ' (12: 91) 

Yusuf sends for Ya'qub 

Yusuf longed to meet Ya'qub. How could he not 


long to see him when they had been apart for such a long 
time? Why should he be patient now when the secret had 
been disclosed? How could he enjoy food and drink when 
his father was not enjoying food or drink or even sleep? 

The secret was revealed, all was made known. 
Allah wanted to delight Ya'qub. 

When Yusuf heard that Ya'qub had gone blind 
because of his great weeping and sorrow, he said: 'Take 
this shirt of mine and throw it over my father's face. He 
wifi recover his sight Then bring me all of your family. ' 
(12: 93) 

Ya'qub with Yusuf 

As the messenger, ahead of the others, was carrying 
Yusufs shirt back to Canaan, Ya'qub sensed Yusufs scent 
on the air. He said: 7 smell the scent of Yusuf/ 

Those around him said: 'By Allah , you are in your 
old error.' (12: 95) 

But Ya'qub had spoken the truth. When the bearer 
of good news came, he placed (the shirt) over Ya'qub's 
face and he saw once again. He said: 'Didn't I tell you 
that I know from Allah what you do not know/ (12: 96) 
Now the brothers understood. 

They said: 'Our father , ask forgiveness for us for 
our wrong actions. We have been in error. ' 

He said: 7 will ask my Lord to forgive you. He is 
All-Forgiving , , All-Merciful. '(12: 97-8) 

Then Ya'qub journeyed to Egypt and Yusuf received 
him. Their joy and happiness were great It was a memor- 
able and blessed day in Egypt. 

Yusuf placed his parents on the throne. They all fell 
down prostrate before Yusuf, who said: 'This is the 


interpretation of my dream of long ago . My Lord has made 
it true . (12: 1 00) I saw eleven stars , the sun and the moon. 
I saw them bowing down to me . ' (1 2: 4) 

Yusuf praised Allah greatly. He was very thankful 
for what had happened. 

Ya'qub and his family stayed in Egypt for a long 
time. Ya'qub and his wife died in Egypt. 

A good end 

Although he was a ruler, with great power and 
authority, this did not distract Yusuf from Allah. It did not 
change him. He remembered Allah, worshipped Him and 
feared Him. He gave judgement according to the judge- 
ment of Allah. He carried out Allah's commands. 

Yusuf did not want to die the death of a king. He 
did not want to be gathered with the kings. He wanted to 
die the death of a slave of Allah and to be gathered with 
the righteous. 

This was Yusufs prayer: 

My Lord, You have given me a kingdom and taught 
me the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens 
and the earth! You are my Guardian in this world and the 
next world. Make me die a Muslim and join me with the 
righteous . (12: 101) 

Allah made him die a Muslim and joined him with 
his fathers, Ibrahim, Ishaq and Ya'qub, may Allah bless 
them and the Prophet Muhammad and grant them peace. 


6. The Prophet Musa 

From Canaan to Egypt 

Ya'qub and his sons moved to Egypt because Yusuf 
the son of Ya'qub was the ruler of Egypt. Back in Canaan, 
they had herded their flocks, milked their sheep and sold 
their wool, while in Egypt even Yusufs slaves and servants 
ate well and enjoyed themselves. 

Yusuf sent for Ya'qub and his family, asking them 
to come from Canaan. He could not relish his food or 
drink when his father and brothers were not with him. 
How could he enjoy life when he alone was in Egypt? 
How could he live in a palace when his father and brothers 
lived in a tiny house in Canaan? 

So Ya'qub and his sons came to Egypt. Yusuf 
welcomed them and was delighted to see them. The 
people of Egypt also welcomed the family of their lord, the 
family of their noble king. They loved this noble family 
because they loved Yusuf for his generosity and goodness 
to them, and because they saw he was a compassionate 
man who gave true counsel. They saw that Ya'qub too 
was a noble and generous father. 

Ya'qub enjoyed great respect in Egypt. Its people 
were to him like his own sons. They were pleased that 
Ya'qub and his sons remained in Egypt, and Egypt became 
their homeland. 


After Yusuf 

After some time, Ya'qub died and was buried in 
Egypt. Yusuf grieved over him and so did the people of 
Egypt. It was as if they had lost their own father. 

After a time, Yusuf also died. That was a terrible 
day for the people of Egypt. They were very sad and wept 
over him for a long time. They forgot their own sorrows 
in this greater sorrow. It was as if they had never been 
visited by any affliction before that day. 

They buried Yusuf as well and consoled each other. 
They were all equal in their love for Yusuf. It was as if 
every child had lost a father and every adult had lost a 
brother. They went to Yusufs sons and brothers to comfort 
them. They told them: 'Masters! Your loss today is no 
greater than our loss. We have lost a compassionate 
brother, a merciful and just master, in this man we buried 

'He is the one who gave relief to the slaves and 
removed injustice from our country. He is the one who 
kept the great from harming the lowly and the strong from 
overpowering the weak. He is the one who helped those 
who had been wronged and gave refuge to those who 
were afraid, and fed those who were hungry. 

'He is the one who guided us to the truth and called 
us to Allah. Before he came, we were like dumb animals 
who knew nothing about Allah or the Next World. 

'He is the one who helped us during the famine. 
We were able to eat our fill while people in other countries 
were starving. We will never forget our noble king and we 
will never forget, lords, that you are his brothers and the 
people of his house. 

'How happy our master was on the day when you 
came to Egypt! How happy we were to share our master's 


joy! The land is yours, and we will behave towards you 
just as we did when our master was alive/ 

The Israelites in Egypt 

And so it remained for a long time. The Egyptians 
remembered what they had said and acknowledged the 
virtue of the people of Canaan, also called the Israelites, 
people of nobility and wealth. 

But later on things changed. The morals of the 
Israelites became corrupted and they stopped worshipping 
Allah and calling other people to worship Him. They 
slipped into the wicked ways of this world. 

The Egyptian people also changed in their behaviour 
towards the Israelites. They began to look at them in a 
different way. The Israelites had become just like all other 
people. People began to envy the wealthy among them 
and to insult the poor. 

The Egyptians believed that they were the people 
of the land and that Egypt belonged to them. Some of them 
considered Yusuf a foreigner who had come from Canaan 
when he was purchased by the Aziz of Egypt. They thought 
it was not right for a Canaanite to have ruled Egypt. Many 
of the people forgot the virtue, generosity and charity of 

The pharaoh of Egypt 

The Pharaohs came to the throne of Egypt, and 
they bore a deep hatred towards the Israelites. Then a 
particularly tyrannical man became the king. He did not 
know that the Israelites were the descendants of Prophets, 
nor that they were from the house of Yusuf, the noblest 


king of Egypt. He did not even consider them human beings 
entitled to mercy and justice. 

He thought that his people, the Copts, were one 
race and the Israelites another. The Copts were a kingly 
race, created to rule; the Israelites were a race of slaves, 
created to serve. 

Pharaoh treated the Israelites like work-animals who 
were there to serve and needed only to be fed and watered 

He was an arrogant tyrant who believed that no-one 
was higher than him. He did not believe in Allah. He used 
to say: 7 am your Lord Most High. ' (79: 24) 

He was dazzled by his kingdom, his palaces, and 
his abundant provision. He used to say: 'Do I not possess 
the kingdom of Egypt and these rivers flowing beneath me? 
What, do you not see V (43: 51) 

He behaved as if he was the successor to Nimrod, 
the King of Babylon. He became angry if he learned that 
anyone was thought of as being higher than him. He called 
on people to worship him and prostrate themselves before 
him, and they obeyed. But the Israelites refused because 
they believed in Allah and in His Messengers. Pharaoh 
therefore became very angry indeed with the Israelites. 

Killing the children 

A Coptic priest went to Pharaoh and told him: 'A 
child will be born among the Israelites at whose hands 
your kingdom will wither away/ 

Pharaoh became mad with rage. He ordered his 
guards to kill every new-born boy of the Israelites. Pharaoh 
thought that he was the people's lord and master. He could 
kill whoever he pleased and let live whoever he pleased, 


like a sheep-owner who thinks he can kill or let live 
whichever of 'his' sheep he likes. 

The guards searched throughout Egypt. Whenever 
they learned that a male child had been born among the 
Israelites, they took him and killed him. 

Wolves living in the woods, and snakes and scorp- 
ions living in the desert, were ignored and safe. But no 
new-born boy of the Israelites was allowed to live in 
Pharaoh's kingdom. 

Thousands of children were killed in front of their 
mothers and fathers. The day on which a male child was 
bom to the Israelites was a day of sorrow and weeping. It 
was like a funeral day, a day for grief. Sometimes hundreds 
of children were killed on the same day. 

Pharaoh had exalted himself in the land and had 
divided its inhabitants into sects , abasing a group of them, 
slaughtering their sons and letting their women live. He 
was one of those who work corruption. (28: 4) 

The birth of Musa 

But Allah wanted what Pharaoh feared and had 
been warned about, to take place. The child that Allah 
had destined to destroy Pharaoh's kingdom, and to bring 
people out of darkness into light, out of idol-worship into 
the worship of Allah, was born. 

In spite of Pharaoh and his armies, Musa ibn Imran 
was bom and survived. 

In the Nile 

Musa's mother was afraid for her beautiful son. 
How could she help it when the children's enemies were 


searching for him? How could she help being afraid when 
the guards had dragged dozens of children from their 
mothers' laps? 

What could she do? Where could she hide her 
beautiful child when the guards had the sharp sight of 
crows and the keen smell of ants? 

Then Allah helped Musa's mother and inspired her 
with the idea of putting him in a box and floating it down 
the Nile. 

Glory be to Allah! How could a tender-hearted 
mother put her child into a box and then put it into the 
Nile? Who would suckle the child in the box? How would 
it breathe? 

Musa's mother thought of all that, but she still put 
her trust in Allah and relied on Allah's protection. Her 
home was not able to protect the child any more than the 
box; there were guards everywhere, seeking out the 
new-born children. 

So Musa's mother did what Allah had commanded 
her to do and put her beautiful child in a box and pushed 
it out into the water of the Nile. She was anxious, but then 
she became calm because of her trust in Allah. 

So We inspired the mother of Musa: Suckle him , 
And ' when you fear for him , put him into the river . Do 
not fear or sorrow. We will return him to you and make 
him one of the Messengers , ' (28: 7) 

In Pharaoh's palace 

Pharaoh had many palaces on the banks of the 
Nile. He used to visit these palaces and would sometimes 
stroll along the banks of the river. 

One day, Pharaoh and the Queen of Egypt were 


walking along the river bank when they noticed a box 
being carried along by the current 

'My lord, do you see that box?' 

'How can there be a box in the Nile? It is a piece 
of wood which has fallen into the river?' 

'No, my lord, it is a box.' 

The box came nearer and the people said: 'Yes, it 
is a box!' 

The King commanded one of his servants: 'Go and 
get this box!' 

The servant brought the box to the King. They 
opened it and inside they found a beautiful, smiling boy. 

Everyone was amazed. They wanted to hold him 
and look at him. Even Pharaoh was amazed and stared at 

One of the servants said: It is an Israelite child. The 
King must kill it.' 

When the Queen saw the child love filled her heart 
and she clasped him to her breast and kissed him. She 
pleaded with the King for him: 'He will be a comfort to 
me and you! Do not kill him. Perhaps he will benefit us 
or we can take him for a son . ' (28: 9) 

So Musa ibn 'Imran entered the palace of Pharaoh. 
He survived in spite of Pharaoh and his guards. The guards 
had not been guided to this Israelite child. 

Allah wanted Pharaoh, 'the children's enemy/ to 
bring up the very child at whose hands his kingdom would 
be lost. Ah Pharaoh! How wrong he was about Musa! His 
minister, Haman, and his armies were wrong as well! So 
the family of Pharaoh picked him out to be an enemy and 
a sorrow for them . Pharaoh , Haman and their armies were 
sinners . (28: 8) 


Who will suckle the child? 

The child became the new plaything of the palace. 
Everyone came to look at him and kissed him. Everyone loved 
and praised him because the Queen loved and praised him . 

How could the ladies of the palace not love him? 
How could the servants of the palace not love him? Everyone 
held him and kissed him because he was so beautiful. 

The Queen looked for a wet-nurse to nurse the 
child. The nurse came and took the child, but he refused 
to take her milk and cried. The Queen got another nurse 
who came and took the child. Again, the child refused 
and cried. There was a third, fourth and fifth, but the child 
cried and refused their milk. 

How puzzling! Why did the child refuse to feed? 

The nurses tried hard to give the child their milk. They 
wanted to make the Queen happy and to win a reward from 
her. But Allah had made those nurses unlawful for him. 

The child became the talk of the palace, the centre 
of everybody's attention: 

'Sister, have you seen the new child?' 

'Yes, I've seen him. A very beautiful child ! / 

'But an odd child! Not like other children. He will 
not take milk.' 

'Whenever a nurse takes him, he cries and refuses 
to feed. Poor boy! How will he live? He will die!' 

'Yes, it has been some days since he has fed/ 

In his mother's arms 

Musa's loving mother said to her daughter: 'Go and 
see if your brother is alive. Allah promised me that the child 
would be returned to me and that He would protect him.' 


Musa's sister went to look for her brother. She heard 
the talk about a beautiful child in the King's palace. She 
went to the palace and listened to the women. 

'Has the wet-nurse the Queen sent for come from 

'Yes, my lady, but the child refused her and would 
not take her milk/ 

'Goodness! What is wrong with this child? This is 
the sixth person the Queen has tried/ 

'Yes, and they say that she is a very dean nurse 
and all children take milk from her/ 

Musa's sister heard what was said. Then she said 
in a polite and friendly way: 'I know a woman in the town. 
The child will definitely accept milk from her/ 

One woman said: 'I don't believe it. We have tried 
six wet-nurses, but the child has refused.' 

Another woman said: 'Why don't we try a seventh? 
Why not?' 

The news reached the Queen. She summoned the 
girl and said: 'Go and bring this woman/ 

'Musa's mother came. A serving girl gave Musa to 
her. The child clung to her and began to accept milk from 
her as if he had been with her since birth. How could he 
not have, seeing as she was his own loving mother? How 
could he not want his own mother's milk when he had 
gone hungry for three days? 

The Queen and the people of the palace were amazed. 
Pharaoh was uneasy. He said: 'Why did the child 
accept this woman? Is she his real mother?' 

Musa's mother said: 'My lord, I am a woman with a 
good smell, the smell of milk which every child accepts/ 
Pharaoh was satisfied with her reply and paid her a 



Musa's mother then returned home with Musa in 
her arms: So We returned him to his mother so that she 
might he comforted and not sorrow and so that she might 
know that the promise of Allah is true , but most people 
do not know. (28: 1 3) 

Return to Pharaoh's palace 

After Musa was weaned, when he no longer 
needed his mother's milk, she returned him to the palace. 

Musa grew up in the King's palace as a prince. That 
is how awe of kings and the wealthy was removed from his 
heart. He saw with his own eyes the luxury that Pharaoh and 
his family enjoyed and how the Israelites were oppressed for 
the sake of that luxury. He saw too how the Israelites went 
hungry so that Pharaoh's animals could eat. He saw how the 
Israelites were made to work like donkeys; how they were 
abused and humiliated with the worst possible treatment. 

Musa saw these things every day and remained 
silent. But they angered Musa. How could he not feel anger 
at the abasement of his people and his family when they 
were the sons of Prophets and the sons of nobility? What 
wrong had the Israelites done, except that they were not 
Copts? Except that they were from Canaan? There was 
nothing wrong with that! 

The fatal blow 

Musa became a strong young man, and Allah gave 
him wisdom and knowledge. 

Musa hated injustice. He favoured and sided with 
the weak and those who had been wronged . Every Prophet 
is like that. 


One day Musa entered Pharaoh's city where people 
were busy either working or enjoying themselves. He found 
there two men fighting, one from the Israelites and the 
other from the Copts, the enemies of the Israelites. 

The Israelite shouted to Musa to help him. Musa, 
trying to stop the two men fighting, hit the Copt. The Copt 

Musa was filled with regret, knowing that it had all 
been Satan's doing. He turned to Allah in repentance. That 
is the way of all the Prophets. He said: 'This is from Satan's 
doing . He is a dear , misguiding enemy/ (28; 15) 

Allah turned to Musa because he had not meant to 
kill the Copt. Musa praised Allah and said: 'Allah has 
blessed me and forgiven me. I wilf never help wrongdoers. ' 

The dead Copt was one of Pharaoh's servants, and 
the guards were searching for his slayer. Musa was fearful 
and watchful, not knowing when Pharaoh's guards would 
come for him. He feared being caught and taken before 
the tyrant. 

The dead man became the talk of the town. 
Everyone was talking about it, but no-one knew who had 
slain him. Only Musa and the Israelite knew who had done 
it. Pharaoh was furious about the death of his servant and 
told his guards that they must find the man responsible. 

The secret disclosed 

The next day, Musa again saw the same Israelite in 
a fight with another Copt. The Israelite again cried out to 
Musa to help him. 

Musa said: 'You are an impudent man. Here you 
are, still fighting and quarrelling with people. Shall I help 
you agai n ? You are dearly a quarrelsome person . '(28:18) 


All the same, Musa wanted to stop the two men 
fighting and started towards them. However, the Israelite, 
seeing Musa's anger and hearing himself blamed, was afraid 
that Musa was about to strike him such as he had struck the 
Copt the previous day, and so he blurted out: 'Musa, do 
you want to kill me as you killed a man yesterday ? You only 
mean to be a tyrant in the land. You do not want to be one 
of those who put things right . ' (28: 19) 

Then the Copt ran away to tell the guards. When 
the news reached Pharaoh, he was angry. He said: Is this 
the boy who was our foster-child in the palace, the infant 
who was brought up by the Queen!' 

Musa had not meant to kill the Copt. However 
Pharaoh and his guards would not take that into account, 
nor would they accept any excuse from Musa. Allah 
wanted to rescue Musa from Pharaoh's evil and his guards: 
Allah had decreed that Pharaoh would lose his kingdom, 
and the Israelites would be rescued, through Musa. Allah 
had decreed that Musa would bring people out of the 
worship of slaves (of Allah) into the worship of Allah the 
Exalted. How could that happen if the tyrant's guards were 
to lay their hands on him? 

Pharaoh's ministers held a council and decided to 
have Musa put to death. A man, hearing of this went to 
Musa and told him the news: ' Depart ! / am a sincere 
adviser to you. ' (28: 20) 

Musa accepted this advice and hurried from the 
city. He left there in fear and watchfulness > saying , 'My 
Lord f , deliver me from the unjust people!' (28: 21 } 

From Egypt to Midian 

Where could Musa go when ail of Egypt was 
Pharaoh's kingdom and Pharaoh's guards were every where? 


Allah revealed to Musa to go to Midian, an Arab 
land, where Pharaoh's power did not reach. Midian was 
mostly desert and villages. It did not have the civilization, 
the castles and markets, of Egypt. But it was a happy land 
because it was far from Pharaoh and free of his tyrannical 

How wonderful desert life is when it offers freedom 
and justice! How miserable civilization is when it offers 
slavery and abasement! No-one in Midian woke up in fear 
of the force and power of Pharaoh. No-one went to bed 
in Midian in fear of Pharaoh's guards or his evil. 

Musa left Egypt in fear, watchful in case anyone 
pursued him. But the guards did not know he had left 
Egypt. He left in the name of Allah, calling on Allah for 
help. As he headed towards Midian, he said: 'It may be 
that my Lord will guide me on the right way. ' (2 8: 22) 

In Midian 

Musa reached Midian, not knowing anyone or 
being known by anyone. Where could he find shelter? 
Where could he spend the night? Musa was anxious, but 
he was certain that Allah would not let him die. 

Musa came to a well where people got water for 
their animals. He found two girls there, holding back their 
sheep and waiting for the others to finish getting water so 
that they could have their turn, 

Musa saw that and his heart was filled with the 
compassion and tenderness of a merciful father. He asked: 
'Why aren't you getting water?' 

They replied: 'We cannot take water for our sheep 
until the other people have got water because they are 
strong and we are weak, and because they are men and 


we are women/ Then, as if they knew that Musa was 
thinking, Why doesn't one of the men of your house get 
the water?, they added: 'Our father is an old man. "(28: 23) 

Compassion touched Musa and he drew water for 
them. Then they left. 

Where would Musa go now? Where would he find 
shelter for the night? Then he turned away to the shade 
and said: 'My Lord l I am certainly in need of whatever 
good You will send down on me. ' (28: 24) 

The request 

The two girls arrived home sooner than expected. 
Their father, a priest, was surprised and asked them: 'Why 
are you home so early, my daughters?' 

The girls said: 'Allah sent a noble man to us who 
got us water/ 

Their father realized that it must have been a 
stranger because no-one there had ever been kind to his 

He said: 'Where did you leave this man?' 

The girls replied: 'We left him at the well. He is a 
stranger and has no home here in Midian/ 

The old man said: 'You did not do well, my 
daughters. A stranger has been good to you but he has no 
shelter in the land. Where will he find shelter for the night? 
We owe him the right of hospitality. One of you should 
go and bring him/ 

Then one of the girls came to him , walking mod- 
estly, She said: 'My father invites you that he might repay 
you for the wage of your drawing water for us/ (28: 25) 

Musa realized that Allah had answered his prayer 
and had turned towards him, so he should not refuse the 


offer. He walked ahead of the girl so that he would not 
be looking at her. This was a noble courtesy. 

When they arrived, Musa was asked his name and 
from what country he had come. 

The old man listened patiently. When Musa had 
finished, he said: ' Do not fear You have escaped from 
unjust people. ' (28: 25) 


Musa stayed with the old man as an honoured 
guest, indeed like a beloved son. One of his daughters 
suggested to her father: ' Father ; hire him . The best man 
you can hire is surely the one who is strong and trust- 
worthy/ (28: 26) 

The old man asked: 'What do you know of his 
strength and trustworthiness, my daughter?' 

She said: 'As for his strength, he lifted the lid from 
the well by himself and it normally takes several people to 
lift it. As for his trustworthiness, my father, he walked in 
front of me and did not look at me for the entire journey. 
Whoever you hire must be strong and trustworthy. If he is 
not strong, he will be too weak to work. If he is not 
trustworthy, his strength will not be of any use because he 
will be treacherous/ 

The girl's words were what the old man wanted to 
hear, but he thought about the matter as a wise and caring 
father should. He thought to himself: Who could be a 
better son-in-law than this young man? Where will l find 
anyone better than this man? I have not found anyone else 
worthy of this in all Midian! Perhaps Allah has sent this 
youth to me to be my son-in-law and as a helper for me. 


He addressed his thoughts to Musa in a kindly and 
courteous manner. He said: 7 would like you to marry 
one of my two daughters, provided you work for me for 
eight years. If you complete ten years , that will be on your 
own account. I do not desire to press you hard. You will 
find me one of the righteous, Allah willing / (28: 27) 

Eight years to be spent with him was the bride-price 
the old man had asked. Perhaps he feared that Musa might 
take his daughter and leave straightaway. In this way he 
thought he could test Musa until he was sure of him and 
then he could bid him and his daughter farewell with peace 
of mind. 

Musa agreed to these terms, trusting that it was from 
Allah and that Allah would bless him in it. Allah had led 
him to Midian and brought him to the old man and had 
put tenderness and love into his heart. But as Musa was 
wise and intelligent, he wanted to choose later on the 
number of years he stayed with the old man. He said: 
' That is between me and you. Whichever of the two terms 
I fulfil, it shall be no injustice on my part. Allah is the 
guardian of what we say. ' (28: 28) 

To Egypt 

When Musa had finished the term and departed 
with his household (28: 29), he and the priest said 
good-bye to one another. The priest said a prayer for him: 
'Go with my blessing, my son. Go in Allah's protection, 
my daughter.' 

Musa travelled with his family. The night was cold 
and dark. But where was fire to be found in the desert? 
What would they do if they could not find a fire to warm 
them or light to guide them? While they were travelling 


and Musa was searching, he observed a fire . He said to 
his household ' 'Stay here . I have observed a fire . Perhaps 
I will bring you a brand from it or I shall find guidance at 
the fire . ' (20: 10) 

Musa went towards the fire, drawn to it by a 
powerful longing. When he came to if a voice cried: 
'Musa, I am your Lord, so remove your shoes. You are in 
the Sacred Valley of Tuwa. ' (20: 12) 

It was here that Allah spoke to Musa and revealed 
to him: 'l have chosen you , so listen to this revelation. I 
am Allah. There is no god but Me, so worship Me and 
perform the prayer for My remembrance. The Hour is 
coming/ ( 20: 14-15) 

Musa carried a staff which he used for various 
purposes. Allah the Exalted said: 'What is in your right 
hand, Musa/ (20: 17) 

Musa answered simply: ' This is my staff/ 

Then Musa began to list the uses of this staff because 
he wanted to speak to Allah for a long time. He said: 7 
lean upon it and I use it to beat down the leaves to feed 
my sheep and I also have other uses in it ' (20: 18) 

He said: ' Throw it down, Musa V (20: 19) 

He threw it down and it became a slithering snake . 
(20: 20) 

Allah said: ' Take it and do not fear . We will return 
it to its former state . ' (20: 21) 

Allah then gave Musa a second sign: 'Clasp your 
hand to your arm-pit. It will come out white without any 
evil. This is another sign . ' (20: 22) 

'Go to Pharaoh, he has become insolent' (20: 24) 

After that, Allah commanded Musa to begin the 
work for which he had been created. Pharaoh had become 


insolent and was encouraging corruption in the land. 
Pharaoh's people had rejected Allah, and they too had a 
corruptive influence in the land. Allah does not like f lis 
slaves to refuse to believe in Him. He does not like 
corruption in the land. He wanted Musa to go to Pharaoh 
and Pharaoh's subjects: They were an ungodly people. 
(28: 32) 

But how could Musa go back there and confront 
the tyrant? He had killed a Copt, and had been forced to 
leave Egypt in fear of his life. Moreover, he was well-known 
to the guards and the people of the palace. 

He said: 'My Lord ' / killed one of them and I fear 
that they will kill me. ' (28: 33) 

Allah knew all of this but wanted Musa to go in 
spite of it: 'Co to the people of the evildoers, the people 
of the Pharaoh. Will they not be godfearing V 

He said: 'My Lord, l fear that they will deny me and 
my breast will be constricted and my tongue will not be 
loosened l so send for Harun (to help me). They also hold 
against me a wrong action, and I fear that they will kill me. ' 

He said: 'No, indeed. Go, both of you, with Our 
signs. We will be with you, listening , Co to Pharaoh and 
say, "i am the Messenger of the Lord of all the worlds. 
Send the Children of Israel with us. (26: 1 0-1 7) 

Allah advised Musa and Harun to be gentle and 
kind with Pharaoh. Allah likes to be kind to His enemies 
for a time, so that they may reform themselves: 'Speak 
gently to him. He may heed or fear. ' (20: 44) 

Before Pharaoh 

Musa and Harun went to Pharaoh and stood in his 
Council, calling him to Allah. The tyrant became angry at 


Musa's boldness and said with disdain and arrogance: 
'Who are you, young man, to stand up in my Council and 
admonish me? Aren't you the boy whom we pulled out 
of the water? Did we not bring you up among us as a 
child? Did you not stay with us for many years of your life? 
Then you did the deed you did ' being one of the 
ungrateful!' (26: 18-19) 

Musa did not get angry or deny this. He did not 
argue or make excuses. He spoke plainly and with great 
dignity. He said: ' Indeed ! did it then , for I was one of 
those who are astray . So I fled from you , fearing you. But 
my Lord gave me judgement and made me one of the 
Messengers/ ( 26: 20-1) 

Musa went on: 'Pharaoh, you were gracious to me 
in that you brought me up. But you do not see why I came 
into your hands or why you were able to bring me up. if 
you had not given the command for the children to be 
killed, my mother would not have put me into the Nile 
and I would not have come into your hands. Is that then 
a blessing to be remembered and weighed against your 
injustice and cruelty? You treated ail my people as if they 
were donkeys and beasts. You treated them like dogs. You 
inflicted terrible punishment on them. 

'Certainly you brought me up, but that is a blessing 
which you reproach me with, having enslaved the Children 
of Israel \ (26: 22) Then what virtue can you claim for 
yourself for looking after one of their children? That also 
only came about through ignorance and error!' 

Calling to Allah 

Pharaoh was speechless. He tried to bluster his way 
out of it by asking: 'What is the Lord of all the worlds that 
I hear you mentioning?' 


He said: The Lord of the heavens and the earth 
and what is between them if you have certainty . '{26: 23-4) 
Pharaoh was angered by Musa's reply and wanted 
to provoke the people of the Council against him. So he 
said to those about him: 'Do you not hear?' (26: 25) 

Musa continued: 'Your Lord and the Lord of your 
fathers , the ancients. ' (26: 26) 

Pharaoh could not contain his anger. He said: ' Your 
messenger who has been sent to you is possessed!' (2 6 : 2 7) 
Musa still did not stop speaking. He said: The Lord 
of the East and the West and what is between them if you 
have understanding. ' (26: 28) 

Pharaoh wanted to distract Musa from this argument 
that was so hard for him, and to provoke his Council to 
anger. He asked Musa: ' What about the former genera- 
tions?' (20: 51) His thinking was: If Musa says that the 
forefathers knew the truth, then I will say. They worshipped 
idols/ If Musa says that they were misguided and foolish, 
the people of the Council will become angry and say, 
'Musa has cursed our forefathers/ 

But Musa was more intelligent than Pharaoh. He 
possessed a light from his Lord. He said: The knowledge 
of them is with my Lord in a Book , My Lord does not err 
nor does He forget ' (20: 52) 

Then Musa went on to say what Pharaoh had been 
trying to avoid hearing himself, and prevent others from 
hearing. I le said : 'My Lord does not err nor does He forget , 
the One who appointed the earth to be a couch for you 
and threaded roads in it for you and sent down water from 
heaven.' (20: 52-3) 

Pharaoh was confused. He did not know what to 
say. Then he tried to frighten Musa. He said: 'if you take 
a god other than me, l will make you one of the 
imprisoned!' (26: 29) 


Musa's miracles 

When Pharaoh had shot that bolt, Musa wanted to 
hit him with Allah's bolt. He said ' 'What, even if f bring 
you something dear ?' (26: 30} 

Pharaoh said: 'Bring it then if you are one of the 
truthful/ (26: 31) 

So Musa threw down his staff and it was a manifest 
snake. He drew forth his hand and it was white to the 
viewers. (26: 32—3) 

Pharaoh found something to say only to his com- 
panions. He said to the Coundl around him: 'This man is 
a cunning sorcerer. ' (26: 34) 

The people of the Council agreed. They said: 'This 
is a manifest sorcerer . ' 

Musa said: 'What, do you say this to the truth, 
when it has come to you, "Is this sorcery ?" Sorcerers do 
not prosper. '(10: 7 7) 

Then Pharaoh's people shot another bolt at Musa. 
They said: 'Have you come to us to turn us from what we 
found our fathers doing? Does domination in the land 
belong to you two? We do not believe you. '(10: 78) 

Then, Pharaoh tried to alarm the Council about 
Musa. He said: 'He wants to drive you out of your land 
by sorcery. What do you command?' (26: 25) 

The Council then suggested to the King that he 
should assemble the best sorcerers in his kingdom and that 
they should use their magic against Musa. The King agreed. 
A proclamation was made throughout the kingdom: 'Who- 
ever knows magic should come to the King/ 

Sorcerers gathered from every corner of the king- 
dom. Feast Day was set as the date for the contest. 

The people were asked: 'Will you gather?' 


Perhaps we wifi follow the sorcerers if they are the 
winners . ' (26: 40) 

To the square 

The people left their houses in the morning and 
walked to the square in throngs. Children, young and old 
people, men and women, all were going to the square. 
Only the sick and the very old were left at home. 

All the talk was of sorcery and the names of 

'Has the Great Wizard of Aswan* come as well?' 

'Yes, and the Wizard of Luxor* and the famous 
sorcerer of Giza*/ 

'Brother, who do you think will win? 7 

'Egypt is putting forward her very best! Do you think 
anyone can beat them?' 

'How can Musa and his brother beat them? Where 
did they learn magic?' 

'He grew up in the King's palace and he left Egypt 
in fear for his fife and then he spent some years in Midian/ 

'So where did he learn magic?' 

In Egypt? Never!/ 

'In Midian? We have not heard that they possess 
that science there/ 

The Israelites came, torn between hope and despair, 
perhaps more in a state of despair, saying, 'May Allah show 
mercy to Imran's son! May Allah help the Israelites!' 

The sorcerers came forward in all their pride and 
arrogance, clothed in colourful garments, carrying their 
staffs and ropes. They were laughing and joking for this 

* Names of lowns in ancient Egypt. 


was the day of their science: today the King would see 
their art! Today the people would see their excellence! 

When the sorcerers came , they said to Pharaoh: 
' Shat I we have a wage if we are the victors ?' 

He said: 'Yes, and you shall be among those 
near-stationed. '(26: 41-2) 

Such are the rewards and gifts offered by kings! 
That is how good men are deceived and trapped. But the 
sorcerers were happy with Pharaoh's promises. 

Between truth and falsehood 

When the sorcerers were ready, Musa told them: 
' Throw down what you will throw. ' 

They threw their ropes and staffs and said: 'By the 
might of Pharaoh we will win . ' (43: 44) 

Then the people saw a marvellous sight: there were 
snakes slithering in the square. Startled, they drew back 
with shouts of 'Snakes! Snakes!' Some women and children 
screamed in alarm. The cry of 'Snakes! Snakes!' filled the 

Musa saw the same thing that the people saw and 
was amazed. It seemed to him through their sorcery that 
their ropes and staffs were sliding . (20: 66) 

Fear crept into Musa's heart. This was the day of 
the contest. In a contest a man is either honoured or 
dishonoured! If the sorcerers were to win, may Allah not 
decree that! If Musa were to be defeated, may Allah not 
allow that! What would he do then? We seek refuge with 

The defeat of Musa would not only mean the defeat 
of one man, but the defeat of a Religion at the hands of a 
king, the defeat of the truth by falsehood. 


Allah would never decree that! Allah would never 
permit that! Allah gave Musa courage and said: ' Do not 
be afraid. You certainly ha ve the upper hand Throw down 
what is in your right hand. It will swallow up what they 
have fashioned. They have only fashioned the guile of a 
sorcerer. The sorcerer does not prosper wherever he goes. ' 
(20: 68-9) 

Musa said: What you have brought is sorcery, 
Allah will bring it to nothing. Allah does not uphold the 
deeds of those who do corruption. Allah verifies the truth 
by His words, even though the wrong-doers are averse. ' 
(10: 81-2) 

Musa threw down his staff and it swallowed up 
their lying invention, (26: 45) The truth came to pass and 
what they were doing was proved false. (7: 118) 

The sorcerers could hardly believe what they saw: 
'What is this? We know sorcery and what it is based on. 
We know magic in all its forms. We are the masters, the 
leaders, of the art! But this does not come from sorcery! 

'If it had been sorcery, we would have beaten it 
with sorcery, confronting science with science. But our 
sorcery fades away in the face of this. It melts away as dew 
melts before the sun. Where is this from? This must be 
from Allah!' 

The sorcerers were satisfied that Musa was a 
Prophet and that Allah had given him a miracle. They cried 
out aloud: We believe in the Lord of Harun and Musa / 
The sorcerers fell down in prostration. They said: We 
believe in the Lord of all the worlds, the Lord of Musa and 
Harun/ (26: 48) 


Pharaoh's threat 

Pharaoh became wild with rage. He leapt to his 
feet and sat down again, helpless with anger. The very 
thing he feared had happened! He had brought the best 
sorcerers to defeat Musa but the sorcerers had become 
Musa's followers! Also the people were now the first to 
believe in Musa! His arrows were turned back against him. 

Pharaoh had believed that he controlled minds just 
as he controlled bodies, that he had power over hearts 
just as he had power over tongues. No-one in Egypt was 
allowed to believe or accept anything without his permis- 
sion. He spoke with pride and arrogance: 'You have 
believed in Him before I gave you leave?' {26: 49) 

Pharaoh then shot another arrow, saying, 'He is 
your chief, the same one who taught you sorcery V (26:49) 
Then he struck at them again, accusing them of a 
plot: This is a trick you have devised in the city in order 
to expel its people from it Now you shall know!' (7 : 1 2 3) 

Then he struck at them with a third poisoned arrow, 
the final arrow in the quiver of an earthly ruler. He said: 
7 shall cut off your hands and feet alternately and / will 
crucify all of you. ' (26: 50™1 ) 

These believers met all the arrows with the shield 
of belief and patience. They said: 'No matter I Indeed we 
are turning to our Lord. We ardently hope for our Lord to 
forgive us our sins and we are the first of the believers. ' 
(26: 50—1 ) 

They spoke with firm belief: 'We believe in our Lord 
that He might forgive us our sins and the sorcery you forced 
us to practise. Allah is better and endures forever. Whoever 
comes to his Lord as a sinner will have Jahannam (Hell). 
There he will neither die nor live. Whoever comes to Him 


as a believer , having performed righteous actions , those 
will have the highest degrees, the gardens of Eden with 
rivers flowing underneath them. That is the reward of those 
who purify themselves . ' (20: 74—6) 

Pharaoh's folly 

Pharaoh was deeply worried by Musa. He spent 
sleepless nights, unable even to enjoy his food or drink. 
Other people also provoked him and he became even 
angrier. They said: 'Will you leave Musa and his people 
to work corruption in the land and leave your gods ?' 

He said : 'We shall slaughter their sons and let their 
women live , We are in power over them!' (7; 127) 

Anxious to stop the Israelites and the Egyptians 
believing in Musa, Pharaoh proclaimed among his people: 
O people ! Do / not possess the kingdom of Egypt and 
these rivers flowing under me? What , do you not see? Am 
/ better or this man , who is contemptible and scarcely 
makes things dear?' (43: 51—2) 

Pharaoh then said, with a great show of composure: 
O Council! I do not know that you have any other god 
than me!' (28: 38) 

It was as if he had reflected deeply on the matter 
and was offering good advice to his people. He said: 
'Haman, kindle me a fire upon the clay and build me a 
tower that i may climb up to Musa's Cod \ for I think that 
he is one of the liars . ' (28: 38) 

Ham an kindled a fire on the clay. He built a tower, 
but up to where? Haman grew weary and the workers 
grew weary. Pharaoh could not build high enough to reach 
the clouds, let alone the moon, not the moon let alone 
the sun, not the sun let alone the stars, not the stars let 
alone the sky. 


Pharaoh was disappointed and ashamed. He was 
powerless to do his will. He did not know that A Hah created 
the earth and the highest heavens. To Him belongs 
whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth 
and whatever is between them and what is under the earth . 
(20: 4-6) 

He is the One who is Cod in the heavens and Cod 
in the earth : (43 : 84) 

Pharaoh decided that the only way to beat Musa 
was to kill him. Pharaoh said: 'Let me kill Musa and let 
him call to his Lord. I fear that he may change your religion 
or he may cause corruption to appear in the land , '(40: 26) 

A believer from Pharaoh's people 

While Pharaoh was plotting how to kill Musa, a 
certain man, a believer from among Pharaoh's people, 
who had kept his belief hidden, said: 'Are you going to 
kill a man just because he says , "My Lord is Allah ", when 
he has brought you the clear proofs from your Lord ?' (40: 

This man then said: 'Why do you oppose Musa 
and seek to harm him? If you do not believe him, then 
leave him alone and let him go his way: If he is a liar , then 
his lie is on his own head . , . (40: 28) If you harm him 
and attack him and he turns out truly to be a Prophet, then 
woe will befall you. If he is telling the truth , some of what 
he warns (you of) will befall you/ (40: 28) 

'My brothers, do not be dazzled by your kingdom. 
Do not be dazzled by your strength and armies!' 

O my people , you have the kingdom today , being 
masters in the land. But who will help us against Allah's 
punishment if it comes upon us?' (40: 29) 


Pharaoh's answer was: 7 only let you see what I 
myself see and I only guide you on the path of guidance. ' 
(40: 29) 

The believer wanted to warn his people about a 
terrible punishment and the fate of those who are unjust. 
He said: 'O my people , / fear for you the like of the day 
of the Parties, the like of what happened to the people of 
Nuh, 'Ad and Thamud and those alter them. Allah does 
not desire injustice for His servants . ' (40: 31 ) 

This sensible man tried to make them fear the Day 
of Judgement. And how awesome is that Day! 

A day when a man shall flee from his brother , his 
mother and his father ; and his wife and his sons. Every 
man on that day will have concern enough for himself to 
make him heedless (of others). (80: 3 4—7) 

Friends on that day will be enemies to one another , 
except for the Cod-fearing. (43 : 67) 

There will be no kinship between them and they 
will not question one another. (23: 101) 

On the day when the All-Powerful King calls out: 
'Whose is the Kingdom today?' ' Allah's , the One , the 
All-Mighty . ' (40: 1 6) 

The day when people are alarmed and shout and 
call to one another, the day when they turn around in 
retreat, they will have no protector against Allah. 

The sensible man then said: 'O my people , / fear 
for you the Day of Invocation , the day when you turn 
about in retreat, having no protector against Allah . Who- 
ever Allah misguides has no guide for him. ' (40: 33) 

He continued: 'Allah gave you a blessing, but you 
did not recognize its excellence, nor did you value it as it 
should have been valued, until it had gone. Then you 
regretted it. That was the Prophet Yusuf, may Allah's peace 


and blessing be upon him, whom you did not recognize 
and whose worth you did not esteem. 

'But when he died, you said, "Glory be to Allah! 
There will never be a Prophet like Yusuf! There will never 
be a king like Yusuf! There will never be a man like Yusuf! 
Who will we have for a Prophet after him? Who will we 
ever have like him? No-one! There will never be anyone 
like him!" 

'Yusuf brought you the clear signs before, but you 
continued in doubt concerning what he had brought you 
until you said ' "Allah will never send a messenger after 
him." (4 0:34) 

That is how you will behave after this Prophet as 
well, and again you will regret it!' 

The man's good advice 

The man warned his people and gave them of his 
love and best counsel. 

The man who believed said: 'O my people, follow 
me. I will guide you in the path of guidance. ' (40: 38) 

He knew that the people were intoxicated with the 
life of this world and that Pharaoh was dazzled by his 
kingdom and power. But the life of this world is nothing 
but a dream, a fading shadow. 

This man knew what kept people from following 
Musa. It was because they were drunk with the pleasures 
of this life. The drunkard, when he is drunk, is not afraid, 
and he is not aware. That is why these people could not 
hear Musa's voice. But the man still wanted to call their 
attention to this heedlessness. He said; *Q my people, the 
life of this world is only a brief enjoyment. The Next World 
is the Lasting Abode . ' (40: 39) 


Those of his people who were ignorant began to 
call him back to unbelief and idol-worship, back to the 
religion of their ancestors. When he said to them, 'Come 
to Allah/ they said, 'Return to the religion of your ances- 

They insisted so much that he said to them : 'O my 
people, how is it that l call you to salvation while you call 
me to the Fire ? You call me to reject Allah and associate 
with Him that of which l have no knowledge , while I call 
you to the Mighty , the Forgiving/ (40: 41—2) He asked 
them: 'What Prophet has come from your gods? What 
book has been sent down? Who has called you to what 
you believe? These are names you have named, you and 
your fathers . Allah has not sent down any authority for 
them , (53: 23) 

'It is the Messengers of Allah who call to Allah. 
Among them were Ibrahim, peace be upon him, and 
Yusuf. And Musa is the Prophet of Allah. 

There is a sign of Allah in every thing, a call to Him 
in every place. While there can be 'no doubt that what 
you call me to does not have any claim , either in this world 
or in the Next World. ' (40: 43) 

When the man despaired of guiding them and was 
exasperated with their stupidity, he left them, saying, 'You 
will remember what l told you. I entrust my affair to Allah. 
Allah sees His slaves . ' (40: 44) 

The people of Pharaoh became angry and wanted 
to kill him, but Allah protected him and destroyed his 

Allah guarded him against the evils they devised 
and an evil punishment encompassed the people of 
Pharaoh . (40: 45) 


Pharaoh's wife 

Pharaoh believed that he was the master of people's 
minds in the same way that he was of their bodies, that 
he had power over people's hearts as he had power over 
their tongues. No-one in Egypt was allowed to believe 
anything or accept anything without his permission. 

When anyone believed in Musa, even in the furthest 
part of his kingdom, Pharaoh became furious. He leapt to 
his feet and sat down again, he thundered and raged. He 
would say: 'How can he believe in Musa before I have 
given him permission! He lives in comfort in my kingdom 
and now he rebels against me! He consumes my provision 
and now he is ungrateful to me! 1 have a better right to 
every single man in Egypt than the man himself has!' 

Pharaoh forgot that he was living in comfort in 
Allah's kingdom and yet he was rebelling against Him, He 
was consuming Allah's provision and yet was ungrateful 
to Him, 

Allah showed him a sign in his own house, within 
his own family, Allah showed him that He alone is the 
King of people's minds in the same way that He Is the King 
of their bodies, that He alone has power over people's 
hearts as He has power over their tongues. Allah can come 
between a man and his family, between a man and his 

Belief entered Pharaoh's house without him being 
aware of it, showing that he was not in control of anything. 
Pharaoh's wife believed in Allah and rejected Pharaoh. She 
believed in Musa in spite of her husband, the King of Egypt. 
She knew Pharaoh better than anyone else, and Pharaoh 
loved her better than anyone else, but she believed in Musa 
and in the message he brought from Allah. 


Pharaoh's guards could not do anything; they were 
unaware of this event. Indeed, Pharaoh, who was closest 
to the Queen, was himself unaware of it. Even if Pharaoh 
had known, what could he have done? He owned people's 
bodies, but not their minds. He had power over people's 
tongues, but no power over their hearts. 

A woman should obey her husband, but no-one 
should obey a creature who is in rebellion against his Creator. 
Children should obey their parents and be dutiful to them, 
but they do not have to obey them in the associating of 
things with Allah: If they try to make you associate with Me 
what you have no knowledge of do not obey them . Keep 
their company in this world kindly and follow the path of 
the one who turns to Me. Then you will return to Me and I 
will tell you what you were doing. (31 : 15) 

Pharaoh's wife was correct in her belief. She 
worshipped Allah in the house of Allah's enemy. She 
declared to Allah that she was innocent of what Pharaoh 
was doing. Allah was pleased with Pharaoh's wife and 
saved her from Pharaoh and his actions. Allah made her 
an example for the believers through her faith and courage. 

Allah made an example of Pharaoh's wife for those 
who believe when she said ' 'My Lord ' build me a house 
with You in the Garden and save me from Pharaoh and 
his deeds and save me from the unjust people . ' (66: 11) 

The testing of the Israelites 

As people knew that Pharaoh was hostile to the 
Israelites, they sided with him and displayed their hostility 
towards them also. Their children were rude to the Israelites 
and their dogs chased them. Every day brought a new trial. 
Every night brought a new disaster. 


Musa consoled his people and advised them to be 
patient. He told them : ' Pray for Allah's help and be patient. 
The land belongs to Allah . He will bequeath it to whomever 
of His slaves He wills. The final outcome belongs to those 
who fear Allah . ' (7: 128) 

The Israelites disliked this trial and persecution and 
told Musa: 'You haven't helped us at all! You haven't 
spared us anything! We were harmed before you came to 
us and after you came to us. '(7:1 29) 

But Musa was not alarmed. He did not despair. He 
said, ' Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy and will 
appoint you successors in the land, so that He can see 
how you act. ' 

Musa said: 'O my people , if you believe in Allah , 
you must trust in Him f if you have surrendered yourselves 
to Him . ' 

They said: f We have put our trust in Allah , our 
Lord. Do not make us a temptation for the wrong-doing 
people . Save us by Your mercy from the people of the 
unbelievers. '(10: 84-6) 

Pharaoh had forbidden the Israelites from worship- 
ping Allah. He was angry when he saw them worshipping 
Him or praying to Him. He had forbidden them from 
making mosques for Allah in his land. It enraged him to 
see Allah being worshipped in his land. 

How ignorant of Allah he was! The land belongs 
to Allah, not to any Pharaoh. Who could be more unjust 
than someone who forbids Allah's slaves from worshipping 
Allah in Allah's land. Who could be more unjust than 
someone who calls on people to worship himself in Allah's 

But Pharaoh could not keep people from doing 
whatever they liked in their own homes! Allah commanded 


the Israelites on the tongue of Musa: 'Make your houses 
a direction for men to pray / and perform the prayer/ 
( 10 : 87 ) 

Pharaoh and his guards were powerless to prevent 
the Israelites worshipping Allah. Who can come between 
a slave and his Lord? Who can come between a Muslim 
and the worship of Allah? 


As Pharaoh became more tyrannical and heedless, 
Allah wanted to warn him. Allah does not like His slaves 
to disbelieve. He does not like corruption in the land. 

Pharaoh was very silly. Wise words and warnings 
were wasted on him. Certain donkeys do not take any 
notice until they are beaten. Allah wanted to make Pharaoh 
take notice. 

Egypt was a green, fertile land, a land of blessings 
and fruits, a land where grain grew in abundance. You 
remember how Egypt helped distant lands in the years of 
famine during the time of Yusuf and how Egypt helped the 
people of Syria and Canaan. The Nile gives water to Egypt 
and irrigates its crops. It is a source of joy and blessing to 
the people of that land. 

Pharaoh and the Egyptian people thought that the 
Nile was the key to their provision and the Nile made Egypt 
so rich that it did not need rain or anything else. They did 
not know that the keys of provision are with Allah and that 
Allah gives provision to whoever He wills, and withholds 
it from whoever He wills. They did not know that the Nile 
flows and floods at Allah's command. 

Allah commanded the Nile, and its waters receded 
and disappeared into the ground. Without those waters 


how could the crops of the Egyptian people be irrigated? 
The fruits of the land disappeared and its grain dwindled. 
There was famine after famine. 

Pharaoh was seen to be powerless. Hannan was 
seen to be powerless. Pharaoh's guards were seen to be 
unable to devise any plot. Then the people of Egypt knew 
that Pharaoh was not their Lord and that provision was in 
the hands of Allah. But that did not benefit Pharaoh or his 
people, it did not wake them up. Satan was able to come 
between them and the warning lesson they had been given. 
They decided: These famines and bad years are bad luck 
which come from Musa and his people/ 

How strange an excuse! Had Musa not been there 
before? Had not the Israelites been there for a long time? 
It was bad luck brought about by their own actions, their 
own unbelief. But Pharaoh and his people were stubborn 
and said: 'We will not submit to this magic. Whatever sign 
you bring to us to bewitch us, we wifi not believe you , 7 
( 7 : 132 ) 

Five signs 

Allah then sent them another sign. He sent rains 
and the Nile overflowed. It rained and rained until the 
fields were so flooded that the crops were washed away. 
The rain became a curse. The people complained about 
the lack of it and now they were complaining about too 

Then Allah sent locusts which devoured the crops 
and fields and stripped the trees. They left nothing behind. 
The armies of Pharaoh could not fight the army of Allah. 
How could they fight them when neither swords nor spears 
were of any use against them? 


The people of Egypt saw that Pharaoh was weak 
and that Haman was powerless and that the plots of the 
guards were of no use. But they did not reflect! They did 
not take note! 

Allah then sent another army, an army of lice. He 
gave the lice power over them. We seek refuge with Allah! 
Lice in their beds, in their clothes, on their heads, in their 
hair! They spent sleepless nights looking for lice and cursing 
them until morning. How could they fight them, when 
neither swords nor spears affected them. Their armies and 
guards could not save them. 

Then Allah sent frogs. There were frogs in their 
storage vessels for food and drink. They found frogs even 
in their clothes. The frogs made their lives a misery. The 
frogs multiplied and were found all over their houses. They 
croaked all night. One jumped here and another hopped 
there. Whenever they killed one, ten more appeared. The 
guards were powerless against the frogs. 

Allah then sent a fifth sign against them: blood. Their 
noses bled and this enfeebled and exhausted them. Their 
doctors were unable to treat them. No medicine helped. 

Whenever they saw a sign, they said to Musa: 'Ask 
your Lord to remove this affliction from us. We repent and 
believe, and we will send the Israelites away with you/ 
But when Allah removed the affliction from them, they 
broke their promise. 

So we let ioose on them the flood and the locusts 
and lice , the frogs and the blood \ distinct signs. But they 
became proud and were a sinful people , (7: 133) 

The departure 

The Israelites realized that they could not live any 
longer in Egypt. Though it was a vast land, what use could 


they make of its fertility and blessings while they were in 
prison suffering all sorts of torment and humiliation? How 
long could they be patient? Were they not human beings 
suffering injury and pain? 

Allah revealed to Musa that he should lead the 
Israelites out of Egypt. Pharaoh's guards heard of this and 
informed Pharaoh. 

One night Musa led the twelve tribes of Israelites, 
each with its own leader, out of Egypt towards the Holy 
Land. The road to Syria was direct and well-known. It went 
between the two lands. Musa had already travelled it when 
he went to Midian, and again when he returned to Egypt. 

But Musa meant to go one way while Allah i ntended 
him to go another. What Allah wanted was what happened. 
In the darkness Musa took the wrong road and, when 
Musa made this mistake, what Allah willed to happen 
happened. Musa intended to take the Israelites to the north. 
However, they found themselves heading towards the east. 
They found themselves on the shores of the Red Sea. 

O Protector! O Veiled Where are we?' 

The answer was; 'We are on the seashore/ 

As the dawn broke, they looked back and saw a 
huge cloud of dust. Coming after them was a great army 
which filled the horizon. Voices were raised, saying, 'Son 
of Imran! What did you have against us to make you plot 
to kill us? You have brought us to the edge of the sea so 
that Pharaoh can kill us here like rats, when there is no 
way of escape. 

'We know of no wrong that we have done to you, so 
why are you taking revenge like this? Wasn't the hardship and 
affliction we have already endured enough for you without 
you bringing us here? We have the sea in front of us and 
the enemy behind us. There is no outcome for us but death/ 


Then the Israelites were seized by despair and their 
voices were stilled. Everyone was afraid. Even firm moun- 
tains would have had the right to tremble. 

But Musa's faith in his Lord was not shaken. The 
people heard a voice filled with the majesty of prophet hood; 
7Vo, but my Lord is with me . He wifi guide me . ' (26: 62) 
Then Allah commanded Musa to strike the sea with 
his staff. He struck it and the sea divided. The waters rose 
up like mountains one on either side. There were twelve 
paths, one for each tribe. The people crossed unharmed 
and reached the land of safety and peace. 

Pharaoh's drowning 

Pharaoh saw how the Israelites had crossed the sea 
in safety. He said to his armies, 'Look how the sea divides 
freely at my command so that I can catch these fugitives/ 

Pharaoh advanced with his armies and the Israelites 
were in fear once again. 'Here is the enemy, the tyrant, 
intending to cross over to us! Nothing will keep him from 
us! He will catch us and take us back to Egypt in captivity 
or slaughter us as exiles in the desert!' 

Musa thought to strike the land with his staff so that 
it would once more become sea as it had been before. 
But Allah revealed to him: 'Leave the sea alone. They are 
a drowned army/ (44: 24) 

When Pharaoh and his armies reached the middle 
of the path through the sea, the sea flooded back over 
them. Only now, with the waves crashing around him, 
did Pharaoh face up to the truth. Until, when drowning 
overtook him f he said ' 7 believe that there is no god except 
the One in whom the Israelites believe , and l am one of 
the believers/ (10: 90) 


How deep he was in error! Allah will not turn 
towards those who do wrong actions until ' when one of 
them is near death , he says, 7 repent now/ (4: 1 8) The 
day that certain of the signs of your Lord do come, no 
good will it do to a soul to believe in them then , if it 
believed not before , nor earned righteousness through its 
faith . (6: 158) 

Pharaoh was told: 'Now? When you rebelled 
before and were one of the corrupters!' (10: 91) 

Pharaoh drowned in the sea. 

The tyrant who had ordered the deaths of thousands 
of children was dead. The tyrant who had had thousands 
of people killed, cruelly and without mercy, was dead. 
The King of Egypt died far away from his throne, far away 
from his power, without anyone to console him or anyone 
to weep for him. 

Some of the Israelites, aware of Pharaoh's great 
power began to doubt if he had really died: 'Perhaps 
Pharaoh is not dead. Did we not use to see him go for 
days without eating or drinking/ Then the sea cast up 
Pharaoh's body on the shore and they were sure that he 
was dead. 

Allah the Exalted said to Pharaoh: 'Today We will 
deliver you with your body so that you will be a sign for 
those after you. '(10: 92) The body of Pharaoh was a sign 
for those who are able to see, a lesson for those who are 
capable of learning a lesson. 

Pharaoh's army drowned to the last man. They had 
left Egypt behind them and did not find a cubit for burial 
in all its vast land. 

How many gardens and fountains they left behind, 
sown fields, and how noble a station, and what blessings 
they delighted in! Just like that, and We bequeathed them 


to another people . Neither the hea ven nor the earth wept 
for them and they were not given a reprieve. (44: 25—9) 

In the desert 

The Israelites reached the land of security and peace 
and breathed its air as noble and free men. There were 
neither Pharaoh nor Haman nor their guards to fear. They 
walked in safety, fearing none but Allah. 

But they were city people and the sun in the desert 
was too hot for them. They did not have tents which could 
shelter them from the sun. Yet they were the guests of 
Allah, and His generosity is greater than any other's 
generosity. Allah commanded the clouds to give them 
shade. The clouds went with them wherever they went 
and stopped whenever they stopped. 

The Israelites were thirsty and there was no water 
in the desert, no river or well. They went to Musa and 
complained to him as a child complains to its mother and 
asks for her help. They complained of their thirst. 

Musa called on his Lord. To whom else could he 
turn? Allah said; ' Strike the rock with your staff. ' Twelve 
springs gushed forth from it. All the people knew their 
drinking-place. (2: 60) 

The Israelites were hungry and complained to Musa 
as a child complains to its mother and asks for her help. 
They said: 'You brought us out of Egypt, the land of fruits 
and produce, the land of blessings and good things. Who 
will give us food in this desert?' 

Musa called on his Lord, Who else did he have 
besides Him? Allah sent down food on them. He sent 
down sweet things for them onto the leaves of the trees 
and He sent birds to them which could easily be taken 


from the trees. These things were manna and saiwa, Allah's 
hospitality to the Israelites in the desert. 

The ingratitude of the Israelites 

But the tastes and morals of the Israelites had 
become corrupted by their long enslavement. They could 
not make up their minds about anything, and were 
constantly discontented. They were like spoilt children. 
They showed little gratitude and had many complaints. 
They were quick to become bored, wanting what they 
were forbidden and hating what they were given. It was 
not long before they told Musa: 'We don't like only having 
one kind of food. We do not like this meat and this sweet 
stuff. We want vegetables and green herbs. Musa, we wifi 
not endure one sort of food . Ask your Lord to bring forth 
for us of what the earth produces of its green herbs , 
cucumbers, corn , fentils and onions, ( 2 : 61) 

Musa was amazed at this strange request and said 
in a voice filled with disapproval: 'Would you take what 
is inferior in exchange for what is better d ( 2 : 61) 

Are herbs and vegetables better than birds and 
sweets that no human hand has touched? Is the food of 
peasants better than the food of kings? 

But the Israelites continued to ask for vegetables 
and green herbs. Then Musa said: 'What you ask for exists 
in every village and city. Get down to a township. There 
you wiii have what you ask for. ' (2: 61 ) 

The stubbornness of the Israelites 

The Israelites were like spoilt, stubborn children 
who, when they are told to do something, make fun of it 


and do the opposite. It is as if they think it is clever to 
change whatever they are told. So when they are told, 
'Stand up/ they sit down; when they are told, 'Sit down/ 
they stand up. When they are told, 'Be quiet/ they speak; 
when they are told, 'Speak/ they are silent. 

They had wanted to be settled in a village and eat 
tasty food made of vegetables and green herbs. But when 
they were told: ' Enter this township and eat freely from it 
wherever you like and enter the gate in prostration and 
say f "Repentance . " We will forgive you your errors and 
increase the good-doers.' ( 2: 58), they were angry at this 
command from Allah. They entered the village reluctantly. 

'Those who did wrong substituted words other than 
those which had been said to them . ' (2: 59) So Allah sent 
down affliction on them and spread a plague among them 
so that they died like rats. 

When they were given a command, they asked 
many questions and disputed it, so avoiding doing what 
they were asked to do. 

A murder took place among the Israelites and they 
were worried about it. They could not find the killer. They 
went to Musa and said: 'Prophet of Allah, help us in this 
case and ask Allah to make it clear to us who the killer is/ 

The cow 

Musa called on his Lord who revealed to him that 
he should command them to make a sacrifice of a cow. 
For the Israelites, this was as if some misfortune had befallen 
them, so they began to question and mock. 

When Musa said to his people: 'Allah commands you 
to sacrifice a cow/ they said \ 'Are you mocking us V He said ' 
7 seek refuge in Allah lest I be one of the ignorant. ' (2: 67) 


Now they asked Musa many questions. They said: 
' Ask your Lord for us to make dear to us what she may be . ' 

He said: He says that she is a cow neither old nor 
virgin , but between the two. Do as you are commanded. ' 
( 2 : 68 ) 

But they did not stop with that question. They began 
to ask about the cow's colour. They said: ' Ask your Lord 
for us to make dear to us what her colour is. ' 

He said: ' He says that she is a golden cow, bright 
in colour ; delighting those who see. ' (2: 69) 

Then, when they could not think of a definite 
question, they came up with a vague, general question. 
They said: 'Ask your Lord for us to make dear to us what 
she may be. All cows are much the same to us. if Allah 
wills, we will be guided . ' 

He said: 'He says that she is a cow not trained to 
plough the earth nor irrigate the crops , sound, no flaw in 
her/ (2: 70) 

They accepted this time because they said. If Allah 
wills , we will be guided, ' so they were guided. 

But their questions had made things difficult for 
them. If they had sacrificed any cow, that would have 
been enough. But they looked for difficulties for themselves, 
so Allah provided for them. 

They searched for a medium-sized golden cow, 
radiant in colour, which had not tilled the earth nor irrigated a 
field, sound, without flaw. This sort of cow was very rare. The 
cows were either old or virgin. Or they were medium-sized, 
but not golden. Or they were medium-sized and golden, 
but their colour was not radiant. Or they were medium-sized, 
golden cows of radiant colour, but trained to till the earth. 
Or they were medium-sized and golden, of radiant colour 
and did not till the earth, hut they irrigated the fields. 


They searched and searched and realized the evil 
of their bickering. 'What should she be like? What should 
her colour be? Where is she?' They grew weary. 

Allah desired good for an orphan child and so they 
found this cow which Allah had described, and they had 
to pay him a very high price for it, 'They sacrificed it, hut 
they almost did not do it. ' (2: 71 ) 

Allah then commanded that the murdered man be 
struck with a piece of the cow. Then he came back to life 
and told them the name of his killer. That is indeed how 
it was. 

The Shari' a 

The Israelites left a life of beasts of burden for a life 
of men. They went to live in the desert as free and noble 
men. They needed a divine law to provide judgement 
between them and to illuminate a path for them. Mankind 
cannot live as human beings unless they have a divine law 
and a light from their Lord. 

The entire world is darkness upon darkness except 
when someone has a shining light from his Lord; and that 
light is the light of the Prophets which gives people the 
guidance they need. Whoever is not guided by this light 
is astray and acts haphazardly. Without this light, beliefs 
are only fancies and superstitions for children to laugh at, 
They only follow supposition and supposition does not 
help at ail against the truth, (53: 28) Have you not heard 
about the beliefs of polytheists, and other non-Muslims? 
Their knowledge is in fact ignorance, conjecture, supersti- 
tion and hearsay. They follow hut a guess and lof a guess 
can never take the place of the Truth. (53: 28) 

Their 'Morality' consists of nothing but excess and 

negligence, laxity and prodigality. Do you not see how 
those who do not follow the Prophets violate people's 
rights, exceed the proper limits and follow their whims? 
Their government and politics are nothing but injustice, 
despotism and attacks on people's property, rights and 

Do you not see how the people in power who have 
no fear of Allah and do not follow the Shari 'a break their 
trusts, abuse the property of Allah, and violate people's 
rights and lives? Do you not see how they enslave people 
and split them up into sects by slaughtering their men and 
letting their women live? 

All the world is darkness within darkness within 
darkness except for the one who has a shining light from 
his Lord: Shadows of darkness piled one upon another. 
When he puts forth his hand ' he almost cannot see it. 
Whoever does not have a light assigned to him by Allah 
has no light. (24: 40) 

The Prophet teaches people how to worship Allah. 
He also teaches them how to behave with each other. The 
Prophet teaches people what is correct in life and what is 
correct in religion. He teaches them how to eat, how to 
drink, how to sleep, how to sit, how to behave in every 

The Prophet teaches people how to live as a kind 
father teaches his beloved children. People need the 
teaching of the Prophets as much, or even more than they 
needed the teaching of their parents when they were 

Those who do not receive this prophetic teaching 
and do not learn manners from the Prophets are like wild 
trees. They grow up untended, so in them you see 
crookedness, thorniness and rottenness. 


The Torah 

Allah did no* want the Israelites to perish as other 
nations, who had neither book nor guidance from Allah, 
had perished. He did not want them to act haphazardly 
as other nations had acted. 

Allah commanded Musa to purify himself and to 
fast for thirty days. Then he was to go to Mount Sinai so 
that his Lord could speak to him and give him a book 
which would guide the Israelites. Musa picked out seventy 
men from his people to be witnesses to that because the 
Israelites were a contentious people. 

Because the community must have a leader, he 
said to his brother Ha run: 'Be my successor among my 
people. Put things right. Do not follow the way of those 
who work corruption' {7 : 142) 

Musa went to keep the appointment with his Lord, 
but his yearning drew him towards his Lord and he rushed 
ahead and arrived first at the Mount. Allah said, 'What has 
sped you ahead of your people , Musa?' 

He said \ ' They are on my tracks. I have hastened 
to You , my Lord, only to please You/ (20: 83 — 4} 

Allah commanded him to fulfil the appointment 
with his Lord by remaining forty days in all. 

Musa went to Mount Sinai and his Lord spoke to 
him intimately and brought him near. This increased his 
yearning and he said: 'O my Lord, let me look at You!' 
( 7 : 143 ) 

Allah knew that this was not possible for Musa 
because 'the eyes do not perceive Him , but He does 
perceive the eyes. He is the Subtle, the Aware. ' (6: 103) 

Even the mountains are unable to bear His words, 
let alone see Him: 'If We had sent down this Qur'an on 


a mountain , you would have seen it humbled, split asunder 
out of fear of Allah . ' (59: 21) 

He said: ' You will not see Me, but look at the 
mountain . If it stays fast in its place, then you will see Me. ' 
When his Lord revealed Himself to the mountain, He made 
it crumble to dust and Musa fell down in a swoon. 

When he woke, he said: 'Glory be to Allah! I turn 
to You in repentance and / am the first of the believers. ' 

He said: 'Musa, I have chosen you over all the 
people for My message and My words. Take what I have 
given you and be one of the thankful. ' (7: 144) 

Musa took the Tablets which contained all the 
admonition that the Israelites needed and the details of 
everything. Allah commanded him to take hold of it 
forcefully and command his people to do their best 
according to it. 

When Musa came to the seventy men of his people 
and told them what Allah had given him, they said 
insolently: 'We will not believe until we see Allah openly. ' 
(2: 55) Allah was angry at this impudence, so a thunderbolt 
struck them while they were looking. They realized that 
they could not even endure this thunderbolt which Allah 
had created. So how would they possibly be able to endure 
the light of Allah! 

Musa called on his Lord and said: 'My Lord, if You 
had wished, You could have destroyed them before as 
well as me. Will You destroy us for what the foolish among 
us didr (7:155) 

Allah answered Musa's prayer and restored them 
to life so that they might show their gratitude. 

1 13 

The calf 

The Israelites had lived with the idol-worshippers 
in Egypt for many generations. The Copts used to worship 
many things in Egypt. The Israelites had seen that with their 
own eyes. Dislike of idol-worship had slipped away from 
them and love of it had seeped into them, as water seeps 
into an old, unused house. Whenever they had the chance, 
they began to worship idols. Their hearts swerved and their 
tastes became corrupted. Whenever they saw the path of 
right guidance, they did not take it. Whenever they saw 
the path of error, they took it. 

They crossed the sea and came upon a people 
holding to idols they had. They said: 'Musa, make a god 
for us as they have gods. ' 

Musa became angry and said, 'You are an ignorant 
people! (7: 138-9) 

'What unbelievable wickedness! Allah has blessed 
you and preferred you and given you what He has not 
given anyone else in the entire world! Should I seek a god 
for you other than Allah who has preferred you over all 
beings?' {7: 140) 

When Musa went to the Mount and was absent 
from them lor some days, they became playthings for Satan 
and fell prey to associating things with Allah. One of their 
men called 'the Samiri' got up and produced a calf for 
them , a mere body that lowed. They said: 'This is your 
god and the god of Musa whom he has forgotten. '(20: 88) 

The Israelites were seduced by this calf and bowed 
to it, their hearts were so deaf and blind to truth. What ? 
Did they not see that that thing did not return any word 
to them nor possess power to harm or benefit them? (20: 
89) Did they not see that it did not speak to them nor guide 
them upon a path? (7: 148) 


Harun forbade them to do this and tried hard to 
dissuade them, saying: 'O my people , you have been 
tempted by the thing : Your Lord is the All-Merciful. Follow 
me and obey what I command. '{20: 90) 

But the Israelites were seduced by the magic of the 
Sam in and love of the calf was made to sink into their 
hearts. They said: 'We will not cease to be its votaries until 
Musa returns to us/ (20: 91 ) 

The punishment 

When Allah told Musa that the Samiri had misled 
the Israelites, he went back to his people in sorrow and 
anger. He was angry with his people and angry for Allah's 
sake with his brother Harun. He said: 'Harun, what kept 
you back , when you saw them going astray , that you did 
not follow me? Did you disobey my command?' 

Harun apologized and said: 7 was afraid that you 
would say , "You have divided the Children of Israel and 
have not observed my word. "(20: 92-4) The people have 
abased me and nearly killed me. ' [7: 150} 

He said: 'O my Lord, forgive me and my brother 
and admit us to Your mercy. You are the Most Merciful 
of the Merciful. ' (7: 151) 

Then Musa turned to the Samiri and said: 'What 
was your business , O Samiri?' 

The Samiri admitted his crime and said: 'That is 
how my seif prompted me. ' (20: 96) 

He said: 'Co! In this life it is for you to say, "Touch 
me not!"' {20: 97) 

Musa punished him by isolating him. He had to 
walk alone and live alone like a wild creature without any 
friends. What punishment could be worse? The one who 


pollutes thousands of people with idol-worship should be 
considered unclean and shunned. The one who comes 
between Allah and Mis slaves should be separated from 
mankind. The one who calls people to idol-worship in the 
land of Allah is a great sinner, the entire earth should be 
his prison. 

Then Musa commanded that the cursed calf should 
be burned, When that was done, he threw it into the sea. 
The Israelites saw the fate of the calf they had worshipped 
and saw that it was weak and powerless. 

Musa turned to the Israelites and said: 'My people ! 
You have wronged yourselves by taking the Calf. So turn 
to the Creator and kill yourselves. That would be better 
for you in your Creator's sight ' (2: 54) 

That is what they did. Those who had not worship- 
ped the calf killed those who had worshipped it. So Allah 
turned to them. 

Allah the Exalted said: 'Those who took the Caff 
will he overtaken by wrath from their Lord and abasement 
in the life of this world. That is how We repay forgers . ' (7: 

That is how calf- worshippers will be treated until 
the Day of Judgement! That is how all Idol- worshippers 
and those who associate others with Allah will be treated 
until the Day of Judgement! 

The cowardice of the Israelites 

The Israelites had grown up in Egypt in slavery, 
humiliation and abasement. The children and the young 
men had only known this way of life. The blood had frozen 
in their veins. This was shown in their lack of courage, 
self-respect and enthusiasm. They were not used to leading 


themselves, to struggling and fighting; they had never even 
talked about such matters. 

Guided by revelation from Allah, Musa wanted 
them to enter the Holy Land. There they could live free 
and secure. But Musa recognized the cowardice and 
weakness in the character of the Israelites. He wanted to 
inspire them and to make things easy for them, for the 
Holy Land was controlled by a strong, arrogant people. 

The Israelites refused to enter the Holy Land until 
those arrogant people had been driven from it. Musa 
mentioned Allah's blessing to them, how Allah had prefer- 
red them over all people, so that they would be eager to 
strive in the way of Allah and would despise the humiliating 
and undignified life they were leading. 

When Musa said to his people, 'O my people , 
remember Allah's blessing to you , how He placed among 
you Prophets and made you kings and gave you what He 
did not give any of the people . ' (S : 20) 

Then he said to them: The Holy Land is before 
you. All you have to do is get up and take it from your 
enemies. When Allah wants and decrees something for 
someone, He makes it easy for him to have it. There is no 
averting the decree of Allah, O my people, enter the Holy 
Land which Allah has ordained for you . ' He was afraid 
that their cowardice would get the better of them and 
added : 'Do not turn back on your backs for you will turn 
back as losers . ' (5: 21) 

What Musa had been afraid of happened. Their 
answer, in spite of all that he had said, was: 'Musa, there 
are arrogant people in it . We will not enter it until they 
leave it. If they leave it, then we will enter/ (5: 22) 

Two men from among those who feared Allah, 
whom Allah had blessed, said: ' Enter the gate against them. 


When you enter it, you will be the victors . Put your trust 
in Allah if you are believers . ' (5: 23) 

But that had no effect on them. They said: If it must 
be entered, then you enter it by means of a miracle. If we 
hear that you have entered it, then we will also come and 
enter in safety/ 

They said: 'Musa, we will never enter it as long as 
they are in it. Co, you and your Lord and fight . I'Ve will 
remain sitting here . ' (5: 24) 

Then Musa became angry and despaired of those 
men. He said: 'O my Lord, I have control of none but 
myself and my brother, so distinguish between us and the 
ungodly people. ' 

Allah said: 'It will be forbidden to them for forty 
years white they wander in the land bewildered. Do not 
grieve for the ungodly people . ' (5: 25) 

During this period, the generation who had grown 
up in Egypt in servitude and abasement died. Another 
generation grew up who had been raised in this wandering, 
in hardship. That was the nation of the future. This has 
been the fate of the Jews in all times that they are a 
wandering nation leading a life of humiliation and slavery . 

The path of knowledge 

The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and 
grant him peace, said: 'Musa stood up to speak among 
the Israelites and was asked, "Who has the most know- 
ledge?" He replied, "I have/" 

Allah rebuked him for not having attributed all 
knowledge to Allah. 

Allah revealed to him: 'One of My slaves who can 
be found at the place where the two seas meet knows 
more than you/ 


He asked: 'O Lord, how can I find him?' 

He was told: 'Carry a fish in a basket. When you 
lose it, he will be there/ 

He set off with his servant, Yusha' ibn Nun. They 
carried a fish in a basket. They reached a rock, where they 
lay down and slept. The fish slipped out of the basket and 
made its way to the sea by burrowing. Musa and his servant 
witnessed this extraordinary happening. 

They went on for the rest of the day and the 
following night. The next morning, Musa said to his servant: 
'Bring us our breakfast. We have encountered weariness 
in this journey of ours/ Musa had not felt weary until he 
passed the place he had been commanded to reach. 

His servant said: 'What do you think? When we 
took refuge in the rock, I forgot the fish/ 

Musa said: That is what we were seeking/ So they 
turned back and retraced their steps. 

When they reached the rock, they found a man 
wrapped in a cloak. Musa greeted him. The man, whose 
name was Al-Khadir, said, surprised: 'Is there such a 
greeting in your land?' 

He said: I am Musa.' 

He asked: 'Musa of the Israelites?' 

Musa replied: 'Yes.' Then he asked: Shall I follow 
you so that you can teach me right guidance from what 
you have been taught ?' 

He said, 'You wifi not be able to bear with me 
patiently. (18: 66—7) Musa, I have some knowledge which 
Allah has taught me which He has not taught you. You 
have knowledge which Allah has taught you which I do 
not know.' 

Musa said: If Allah wills , you will find me patient 
and l will not disobey you in anything. '(18: 69) 


They walked together beside the sea. They did not 
have a boat. Then a boat passed by and the people in it 
offered to carry them. Then the people recognized Al- 
Khadir and they carried them without charge. 

A sparrow landed on the edge of the boat and 
pecked once or twice at the sea. Al-Khadir said: 'Musa, 
all that is lacking from my knowledge and your knowledge 
from Allah is like the pecking of this sparrow in the sea/ 

Al-Khadir then stove in one of the panels of the 
boat. Musa said. These people have carried us for free 
and then you go and deliberately make a hole in their boat 
so that its people will drown!' 

Al-Khadir said: ' Did f not say that you would not 
be able to bear with me patiently . ' 

Musa said: ' Do not take me to task for forgetting 
and be not hard on me for my fault . '(18: 73) 

The first excuse given by Musa was that he had 

They went on until they came upon a boy playing 
with some other boys. Al-Khadir took hold of the top of 
the boy's head and jerked his head back with his hand. 
Musa said: 'What, have you killed an innocent soul who 
has slain no man?' 

He said: ' Did I not say to you that you would not 
be able to bear with me patiently?' (18: 74-5) 

They went on again until they came to a city. They 
asked the people there for food, but they refused to give 
them any. They found a wall in the city which was about 
to fall down. Al-Khadir set it upright with his own hand. 

Musa said: 'If you had wished \ you could have 
taken a wage for it ' 

He said: ' This is the parting between you and me. ' 
( 18 : 77 - 8 ) 


The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and 
grant him peace, said: 'May Allah have mercy on Musa. 
We wish that he had been more patient so that we could 
have heard more about the two of them/ (Sahih al-Bukhari) 


Then al-Khadir informed Musa: As for the boat it 
belonged to some poor people who worked upon the sea . 
I wanted to damage it since there was a king behind them 
who was seizing every (sound] boat by force. (1 8: 79) 

As for the boy , his parents were believers and we 
feared that he would grieve them with insolence and 
disbelief on them . We wanted for their Lord to give them 
a better one in purity and closer in affection. {18: 80-1 ) 
As for the waif it belonged to two orphan boys in 
the city . There was a treasure under it which belonged to 
them. Their father was a righteous man so your Lord 
wanted for them to come of age and then bring forth their 
treasure as a mercy from your Lord. (18: 81 ) 

7 did not do it of my own bidding . That is the 
interpretation of what you could not bear patiently. '(18: 82) 
Then Musa realized that no-one could encompass 
all of Allah's knowledge and that some people have some 
of His knowledge while other people have another part of 
it. Over everyone endowed with knowledge there is one 
more knowing. (12: 76) 

The Israelites after Musa 

Musa died while the Israelites were still wandering 
in the land as a punishment from Allah and as a repayment 
for what they had done. 


Allah afflicted them with abasement and poverty 
and they deserved His anger. They had angered Allah, the 
One who had appointed Prophets from among them and 
made them kings and had given them what He had not 
given any other people in their time. 

Allah, the One Who had rescued them from the 
people of Pharaoh who were subjecting them to an evil 
punishment, slaughtering their sons and letting their 
daughters live. 

Allah, the One Who had divided the sea for them 
and had rescued them and drowned the people of Pharaoh 
before their eyes. 

Allah, the One Who had made the clouds shade 
them and had sent down manna and safwa for them. 

Allah, the One Who had made the earth gush forth 
springs for them and had given them ample food and drink. 

They repaid all that by rejecting the signs of Allah, 
rebelling and transgressing. 

They angered their Prophet Musa, the kindest of 
Allah's creatures to them, the one who was kinder to them 
than their own fathers and mothers. He was as tender to 
them as a wet-nurse is to the baby she feeds, as a tender 
mother is towards her child. 

The one they cursed, prayed for them. Whenever 
they laughed at him, he wept. Whenever they were harsh 
to him, he had pity on them. 

He was the one who had rescued them from the 
tyrant Pharaoh and brought them out of Egypt to a land 
of freedom and honour, from a life of wretched slavery to 
a life of noble freedom. 

They angered him, injured him, doggedly opposed 
him, mocked him, and considered him to be the humblest 
man among them while he was the most noble in the eyes 
of Allah. 


Did they not deserve their punishment, wretched- 
ness and constant wandering, and that they will never 
prosper? Yes, they indeed deserve all this and even worse 
because of their evil deeds: 'Allah did not wrong them . 
But they wronged themselves. ' (16: 33) 


7. The Prophet Shu'ayb 

To Midian, their brother Shu'ayb 

tn the Qur'an, is the story of the Prophet of Allah, 
Shu'ayb, whom He sent to Midian and the People of the 
Thicket. These people were merchants, and controlled the 
great trade routes between Yemen and Syria, and between 
Iraq and Egypt on the shores of the Red Sea. 

They associated other gods with Allah as did the 
communities to whom other Prophets were sent in every 
age. Furthermore, they cheated in their dealings and gave 
short measure. Also, they interfered with the caravans and 
threatened and alarmed them. They caused havoc in the 
land, as people will who seek only power and riches in 
this life, and expect no reckoning nor fear any punishment 
in the Hereafter. 

Allah sent His Messenger Shu'ayb to them to call 
them and warn them. He said to them: 'O my people , 
worship Allah. You have no god but Him. Do not diminish 
the measure and the balance. I see you are prosperous 
and I fear for you the punishment of an encompassing day. 

'O my people , fill up the balance and the measure 
justly and do not diminish the goods of the people and do 
not make havoc in the land \ working corruption / {11 : 
84 - 5 ) 


Shu'ayb's call 

Shu'ayb spoke to them at length and loosened the 
knot in their souls, the knot of love of poverty and worldly 

He said: The profit you receive after giving full 
measure and weight is better for you than taking people's 
property unjustly and through trickery. When you examine 
your life and the life of those who were wealthy and 
amassed riches, you will find that the actual result of 
everything they obtained through shortening, lessening and 
trickery was destruction, ruin, corruption and affliction. It 
was either stolen from them, or looted, or spent in ways 
which do not please Allah, or else someone gained control 
of it who wasted and squandered it. A small amount that 
brings true contentment is better than an abundance that 
does not/ 

Say: ' The corrupt and the wholesome are not equal \ 
even If the great amount of the corrupt pleases you . '(5: 1 00) 

'My advice to you is pure and sincere. Allah alone 
is the One who watches over you.' 

He spoke with compassion and wisdom, and from 
knowledge and insight: 'What remains with you from Allah 
is better for you if you are believers . / am not a guardian 
over you. '(11: 86) 

A merciful father and a wise teacher 

Shu'ayb spoke to them on many occasions and 
gave them advice as does any compassionate father and 
wise teacher. 

He said : 'O my people , serve Allah! You have no 
god but Him . A clear sign has come to you from your 
Lord. So fill up the measure and the balance , and do not 


diminish the goods of the people. Do not work corruption 
in the land after it has been set right That is better for you 
if you are believers. Do not sit in every path , threatening 
and barring those who believe in Allah from the path of 
Allah , desiring to make it crooked. Remember when you 
were few and He multiplied you. See what was the end 
of those who worked corruption , ' (7: 85—6) 

His people's response 

Those among Shu'ayb' s people who were thought 
to be clever looked for bad motives in his words. They 
said in arrogant pride, as if they had discovered a secret 
or solved a riddle: 

' Shu 'ay b , does your prayer command you that we 
should abandon what our fathers worshipped or forbid us 
to do whatever we like with our own property? You are 
the forbearing , sensible. '(11: 87) 

Shu'ayb explains his summons 

Shu'ayb was kind to them, not harsh or angry. He 
told them that he had only taken it upon himself to deliver 
this summons and good counsel after a longtime of bearing 
silently their corrupt morals and unjust behaviour. Then 
Allah had honoured him with prophethood and revelation, 
and opened his breast and given him a light from Him. 

Envy was not the reason he spoke up. Allah had 
made him wealthy and given him wholesome, lawful 
provision. He was happy with that, cheerful and content, 
and thankful to Allah. 

He did not forbid them from doing anything that 
he himself did, nor did he deny them anything that he 


himself indulged in. He was not one of those who 
command others to piety while they forget themselves, nor 
one of those who speak but do not act. He sought only 
to put them right, to direct them to contentment, and rescue 
them from the punishment which was hovering above their 
heads. All bounty returns to Allah and depends on Him. 

He said: 'O my people , what do you think ? If I 
stand upon a clear sign from my Lord ' and He has given 
me an excellent provision from Him , and I do not desire 
to come behind you , taking myself to what I forbid you. 
I only desire to set things right as far as I can . My success 
is only with Allah . I have put my trust in Him and / turn 
to Him in repentance. Mil: 88) 

We do not understand much of what you say 

The people shut their ears to Shu'ayb's words. It was 
as if he were speaking to them in a foreign language, though 
he was one of them and from their own country. It was as 
if he was not making things dear, though he was both 
eloquent and dear in speech. But that is the way people are 
when they do not really want to accept good counsel. 

Shu'ayb is amazed at his people 

The people used Shu'ayb's weakness and isolation 
as an excuse. If it had not been for his tribe and kinsfolk, 
they would have stoned him and been rid of him. Shu'ayb 
was amazed that Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Powerful, 
the All-Conquering, should be less in their eyes than a tribe 
which was subject to illness, weakness and destruction. 

They said: 'Shu'ayb, we do not understand much 
of what you say. We see that you are weak among us. If 


it had not been for your tribe , we would have stoned you. 
You are not strong against us. ' 

He said : 'O my people, is my tribe stronger against 
you than Allah? And have you taken Him as something to 
thrust behind you ? My Lord encompasses what you do/ 
(11: 92) 

The last bolt 

When the people had finished their arguments, they 
shot the last bolt which the arrogant of every nation shoot 
against their Prophet and his followers. The Council of 
those of his people said: 'Shu 'ay b, we will drive you out 
of our city along with those who believe with you unless 
you return to our religion. ' (7: 88} 

A definitive proof 

Shu'ayb's answer showed his pride in his faith and 
his way of life, his earnest concern for his belief. When 
they urged him to return to their religion, he said; 

'Even though we detest it? We would have forged 
lies against Allah if we were to return to your religion alter 
Allah has saved us from it. It is not for us to return to it 
unless Alfah our Lord wifls. Our Lord encompasses all 
things in His knowledge. In Allah we put all our trust. Our 
Lord ' decide with truth between us and our people. You 
are the best of those who make decisions. ' 

They said the same as those before them said 

The people responded the same as those before 
them had responded: They said: 'You are one of the 


bewitched. You are only a mortal like us. Indeed we think 
that you are one of the liars. Cause lumps to fall on us 
from heaven if you are one of the truthful . ' (26: 187) 

The end of a nation who rejected their Prophet 

Their end was the same as that of every community 
which rejects its Prophet and is ungrateful for the blessing 
of Allah. So the earthquake seized them , and morning 
found them prostrate in their dwellings. Those who cried 
lies to Shu ' ayb > it was as if they had never lived there. 
Those who cried lies to Shu 'ayb were the losers . (7: 92) 

He conveyed the message and discharged the trust 

Shu'ayb, like all the Prophets, delivered the message 
of Allah to his people, fulfilling the task entrusted to him, 
and he established the proof of it. 

He turned his back on them and said: 'O my 
people f I have conveyed to you the messages of my Lord 
and I have given you good counsel. Why then should I 
grieve for an unbelieving people ?' (7 : 93) 


8. The Prophets Da'ud and 


The Qur'an records the rejection, humiliation and 
banishment which the Prophets and Messengers suffered 
at the hands of the communities to which they were sent. 
It also mentions the punishment, the destruction and ruin 
that came upon these communities when they rejected 
their Messengers, mocked them, and conspired against 
their fives, as you have read in the stories of the Prophets 
we have already recounted. 

The Qur'an mentions Allah's blessings 

The Qur'an frequently mentions Allah's blessings 
and speaks, sometimes at length and sometimes briefly, 
about the numerous blessings which He conferred on 
many of the Prophets, including Da'ud, Sulayman, Ayyuh, 
Yunus, Zakariyya and Yahya. 

Allah made Da'ud and Sulayman strong in their 
land and gave them a great kingdom. He gave them 
knowledge, teaching them many things which other people 
did not know. Strong and insolent men and animals and 
objects that were not easy to deal with were subjected to 

He said: 'We gave Da'ud and Sulayman know- 
ledge.' They said: ' Praise belongs to Allah who has 


preferred us over many of His believing slaves . / Su layman 
was Da'ud's heir and said: ' People , we have been taught 
the speech of birds and we have been given abundance 
of every thing . This is the clear bounty. ' (27: 16) 

Allah's blessing to Da' ud 

As for Da'ud, Allah subjected to him the mountains 
and the birds, which echoed His praises and answered 
him in glorious song. He taught him the craft of making 
coats of mail and made ironwork easy for him. We gave 
Da'ud bounty from Us: 'O mountains! Echo Allah's praises 
with him , and you birds,' We made iron soft for him , 
'Fashion coats of mail and measure the links well. Act 
righteously . I see what you do/ ( 34: 10) 

And He also says: 'We subjected the mountains 
with Da'ud to glorify , and the birds , and We were the 
Doer. We taught him the craft of fashioning garments for 
you to protect you against your violence. Will you then 
not be thankful V (21 : 79—80) 

His gratitude for this blessing 

Although Da'ud owned a wide kingdom with 
power and authority that he used well, he was still a 
humble, penitent slave of Allah. He constantly remembered 
Allah and spent long periods praying to Him and glorifying 
Him. He was a just ruler and an impartial judge who gave 
judgement between people according to the truth. Allah 
says: 'O Da'ud , We have made you a successor (khalifa) 
in the land, so judge between people according to the 
truth. Do not follow caprice so that it leads you astray from 
the way of Allah . Those who go astray from the way of 


Allah will have a harsh punishment for that they forgot the 
Day of Reckoning/ (38: 26) 

Allah's blessing upon Sulayman 

To Sulayman Allah subjected the winds. They blew 
at his command and carried him from place to place so 
that he reached his destination quickly, Allah also subjected 
to him the strong and clever jinn and the rebellious satans. 
They obeyed his commands and carried out his construc- 
tion plans: 

And to Sulayman the wind, blowing strongly that 
ran at his command to the land which We had blessed. 
And We had knowledge of everything. Some of the satans 
dived for him (for pearls) and did other work as well; and 
We were watching over them . (21 : 81—2) 

And to Sulayman the wind ' its morning course was 
a month's journey and its evening course was a month's 
journey. We made the fount of molten brass to flow for 
him . Some of the jinn worked for him by the leave of his 
Lord, and such of them as deviated from Our command 
We caused them to taste the punishment of the Blazing 
Fire . They made for him whatever he wanted: places of 
worship , statues, great pots like water-troughs and boilers 
built into the ground. 'Work, House of Da' ud, in thankful- 
ness. Very few of My slaves are thankful . ' (34: 1 2) 

Fine understanding and deep knowledge 

Sulayman's intelligence and sound judgement was 
shown in a case which was presented before his noble 
father. There was a vineyard full of grape-vines which were 
full of grapes. Some sheep belonging to another person 


entered the vineyard and ruined it. Da'ud gave a judgement 
that the sheep should be given to the owner of the vines 
in compensation. Sulayman said: 'That is not the more 
correct judgement, O Prophet of Allah/ Da'ud asked: 
'What should it be then?' Sulayman said: 'Give the vines 
to the owner of the sheep and let him restore them to their 
previous condition. Give the sheep to the owner of the 
vines and he can profit from them until the vines are 
restored to their proper condition. Then the vines will be 
returned to their owner and the sheep will be returned to 
their owner/ 

Allah gave him fine understanding and deep know- 
ledge. Allah said: 'And Da'ud and Sulayman when they 
gave judgement concerning the fields , when the sheep of 
the people strayed there , and We were witnesses to their 
judgement. We made Sulayman understand it We gave 
both of them judgement and knowledge , ' (21 : 78-9) 

Sulayman knew the language of the birds and animals 

The Qur'an tells a delightful story which illustrates 
Sulayman's wisdom in the management of his kingdom 
and his awesome power. It shows how Allah joined for 
him the happiness of this world and the Next World. With 
Sulayman, his kingdom in this world strengthened his work 
as Prophet and Messenger of the true religion. 

Sulayman knew the language of birds and animals. 
Once he mustered his armies of jinn , men and birds and 
rode among them in splendour and might. They were 
perfectly organized and arranged under the command of 
their leaders. Sulayman passed by the Valley of the Ants, 
One of the ants, afraid that the hooves of the horses would 
crush his tribe without Sulayman and his armies being 


aware of it, ordered his fellow-ants to go into their 
dwelling-places. Sulayman heard and understood this. 
Being a Prophet of Allah, his response was not ruled by 
pride or arrogance. Rather, Sulayman was moved to praise 
Allah and to be grateful for His blessing. Supplication and 
success are part of right action and treading in the path of 
the righteous slaves of Allah. 

The story of the hoopoe 

The hoopoe was Sulayman's scout and his eyes to 
seek out for him watering places and camp sites for the 
army. On one occasion, Sulayman could not locate the 
bird and this annoyed him. The hoopoe was away for 
quite a time before finally returning with this news for 
Sulayman; 1 have learned something that neither you nor 
your armies know. I have brought you true information 
about the kingdom of Sheba. It is a great and a vast state. 
But in spite of the intelligence and skill of the people, and 
their good leadership, I found them to be ignorant and 
foolish. They prostrate to the sun instead of Allah. They 
have no understanding and will not be guided to the 
worship of Allah alone/ 

Sulayman calls the Queen of Sheba to true religion 

It grieved the Prophet of Allah to learn of such a 
kingdom, with a people he had not known about. His call 
had not been able to reach these people so they still 
worshipped the sun. The zeal of Prophethood moved him 
to write to their idol-worshipping Queen, calling her to 
Islam and submission, before he advanced with his pow- 
erful armies to conquer her land. He wrote her an eloquent 

I 34 

letter in which he called on her to enter Islam and submit 
to him. The letter, which was polite but firm, expressed 
prophetic humility as well as kingly honour. 

The Queen consults the leaders of her kingdom 

The Queen of Sheba was intelligent and not given 
to hasty judgements. She had great experience of the 
conduct of kings and the history of conquerors. However, 
her intellect had deceived her as she had failed to recognize 
Allah and worship Him. She told her most intelligent 
counsellors that she had received a letter, different from all 
other letters. It was from the greatest king of that time who 
was a Prophet calling people to Allah. She asked for their 

The leaders in her kingdom began to vaunt their 
strength and the size of their armies. That is what compan- 
ions of kings and rulers do in every time and place. The 
Queen did not agree with what they were doing, so they 
left the decision to her. She warned them about coming 
to a bad end. She reminded them how victorious kings 
despoil nations they have conquered, and humiliate even 
the noblest of people. She told them; 1 will send him some 
splendid gifts in order to test him. If he accepts the gifts, 
then he is a king and we will fight against him. If he does 
not accept them, then he is a Prophet and we will follow 

A bargained gift 

She sent a delegation with gifts of great value as 
befits a king. When the gifts reached Sulayman, he refused 
to accept them, saying: 'Are you trying to use wealth to 


bargain with me so that 1 should leave you to hold your 
kingdom and your people in idol-worship? The kingdom, 
property and armies that Allah has given me are better than 
those you have. This is no light matter, but a serious and 
solemn call to true religion. It is a case of being summoned 
and of submitting, and not to be haggled over/ He sent 
the delegation back, declaring that he would march against 
their kingdom. 

The Queen comes in submission 

When the delegation returned to the kingdom of 
Sheba and gave the Queen Sulayman's message, she and 
her people decided they should obey. In submission she set 
out to meet Sulayman with her armies. When Sulayman 
learned of the decision, he was pleased and praised Allah. 
He wanted to show her a sign to illustrate the power of Allah 
and His blessings to Sulayman. He decided to present her 
with her own throne which was guarded by her strong, 
trustworthy men. He asked his Council to bring her throne 
to him before the Queen's great retinue arrived. 

The throne was brought miraculously to Sulayman 
in the shortest possible time. Then, Sulayman commanded 
some of the finer details of the throne to be altered so that 
he could test whether the Queen would recognize it when 
she saw it. If she did not recognize it, that would prove 
that she was short-sighted in still finer matters that are even 
more difficult to grasp. 

A great pavilion of glass 

Sulayman commanded his builders, both jinn and 
men, to build a great pavilion with water flowing under a 
glass floor. Anyone who did not know the truth of the 


matter would have thought that they were really stepping 
into water, The Queen would surely assume that it was 
water and raise the hem of her dress above the water, and 
her mistake would be clear. She would then realize that 
she was short-sighted and had been deceived by outward 
appearances. She and her people were bowing to the sun 
because it was the clearest source of light and life, which 
are but two of Allah's attributes. Then the veil would fall 
from her eyes and she would realize that just as she had 
made a mistake in assuming the glass to be water when 
she raised the hem of her dress, so too she had been 
mistaken when she treated the sun as the Creator by 
prostrating to it and worshipping it. 

The Queen surrenders with Su layman to Allah, 
the Lord of all the worlds 

All of that indeed happened. The Queen fell into 
this absurd error in spite of her cleverness. She thought 
that the glass was flowing, glistening water, She raised the 
h em of her d ress above what she th ou ght was the water. 

Then the Prophet of Allah, Sulayman, informed her 
of her mistake, saying: It is a pavilion paved with crystal/ 
The veil fell from her eyes and she recognized her ignorance 
in taking an outward appearance at face value by worship- 
ping the sun and prostrating to it. She was quick to exclaim: 
'My Lord, I have wronged myselfl I surrender with 
Sulayman to Allah, the Lord of all being/ 

The Qur'an tells the story of Sulayman 

Read this splendid, delightful story in the Qur'an. 
Allah says: 


He searched among the birds . Then he said: ' How 
is it that I do not see the hoopoe ? Or is he one of the 
absent? / will punish him with a harsh punishment or I will 
slaughter him or he will bring me a good reason. ' But he 
did not delay long. He said: 7 have learned what you do 
not know . i have brought you sure news from Sheba. I 
found a woman ruling over them and she has been given 
some of everything and she has an immense throne . I 
found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of 
Allah. Satan has made their actions seem fair to them and 
has barred them from the way. They are not guided ' so 
they do not prostrate to Allah who brings forth what is 
hidden in the heavens and the earth. He knows what you 
conceal and what you make known . There is no god but 
Him , the Lord of the Immense Throne . ' 

He said: 'We will see if you have spoken the truth 
or whether you are one of the liars . Take this letter of mine 
and throw it to them. Then turn back from them and see 
how they return . ' 

She said: 'O Council! a noble letter has been cast to 
me. It is from Sulayman. It says: "In the name of Allah , the 
Merciful ' the Compassionate. Do not rise up against me, but 
come to me in surrender : " She said: 'O Council ' give me 
your opinion in my affair . / am not in the habit of taking a 
firm decision in an affair until you hear witness to me . ' 

They said : 'We possess power and great might The 
affair is up to you. Consider what command you will give , ' 

She said: ' When kings enter a city , they fay waste 
to it and make its mighty people abased. They will behave 
like that, f will send them a gift and see what answer the 
messengers bring back. ' 

When he came to Sulayman , he (Sulayman) said: 
'What, would you assist me with wealth when what Allah 


has given me is better than what He has given you ? No, 
you delight in your gift! Go back to them. We will come 
against them with armies which they cannot resist and we 
will drive them out of there, abased and utterly humbled. ' 

He said: O Council l which of you can bring me 
her throne before they come to me in surrender?' A 
powerful one of the jinn said: 7 will bring it to you before 
you rise from your seat. I have the strength to do that and 
I am trustworthy . ' The one who had knowledge of the 
Book said: 'I will bring it to you before your glance returns 
to you . ' 

When he saw it settled before him , he said : ' This 
is part of the bounty of my Lord in order to test me to see 
whether I will be thankful or ungrateful. Whoever gives 
thanks, gives thanks for himself Whoever is ungrateful, my 
Lord is Rich, Generous . ' He said: ' Disguise her throne for 
her. We will see if she is guided or if she is one of those 
who are not guided. ' 

When she came, it was said: 'Is your throne like 
that?' She said: It is as though the very same. ' 'We were 
given the knowledge before her and we were in surrender, 
but what she worshipped instead of Allah prevented her 
(understanding) or she was one of the people who disbe- 
lieve.' She was told: 'Enter the pavilion . ' When she saw 
it, she supposed that it was open water and bared her legs. 
He said: 'It is a pavilion covered with crystal. ' She said: 7 
have wronged myself / surrender with Su layman to Allah, 
the Lord of all the worlds. ' (27: 20-44) 

This was what the Prophet of Allah, Su layman, was 
like. He stood firm in his call for the Oneness of Allah. He 
had wisdom, understanding, and strong zeal for the true 
religion and its purity. 

Sulayman believed, but the Satans did not believe 

Yet the Jews attributed to Sulayman, sorcery, disbe- 
lief, and compromise with idol-worship. They even said 
that his wives had been able to weaken his belief in the 
unity of Allah. But Allah has declared that he was innocent 
of all these things. 

Allah said: 'Sulayman did not unbefieve. The satans 
un believed and taught people magic . ' (38: 30) And: We 
gave to Da'ud, Sulayman, What an excellent servant he 
was ! He was penitent. ' And: 'He had a near place in Our 
presence and an excellent return. ' (38: 40) 


9. The Prophets Ayyub and 


The story of Ayyub 

The story of the Prophet Ayyub in the Qur'an shows 
another aspect of the blessing of Allah to His believing 
slaves who remain patient and thankful, and to His beloved 

Ayyub had many animals, flocks and fields, and 
fine sons, with ail of whom he was pleased. He was put 
to the test regarding all these things and lost them all. Then 
he was put to the test regarding his own body until none 
of it was left healthy and sound, except for his heart and 
his tongue with which he remembered Allah. He was alone 
in a far-away corner of the land. No-one felt any pity for 
him except his wife who looked after him. They were in 
such need that she had to work as a servant. 

Ayyub's patience 

In spite of ail this, Ayyub remained steadfast in his 
patience. He was constantly remembering and thanking 
Allah. He did not complain nor apportion blame nor 
grumble nor get angry. He remained in this state for several 


Affliction and gift 

When the affliction Allah had willed for Ayyub's 
soul was over he was allowed to be at peace. Allah inspired 
him with a supplication that was answered. That prayer 
revealed and expressed his powerless ness and misery. It 
revealed that there is indeed no refuge from Allah except 
in Him, and that He has the power to do anything. Allah 
healed Ayyub's body and restored his family and property 
to him, and blessed him. Allah says: 

When Ayyub called unto his Lord: 'Affliction has 
visited me and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful 
We answered him and removed the affliction that was on 
him , and We gave him family and the like of them with 
them as a mercy from Us and a reminder to the slaves / 
( 21 : 83 ) 

The story of Yunus and its wisdom 

The story of Yunus is linked to the story of Ayyub. 
Once again it affirms Allah's power, His kindness to His 
slaves and His help for them when they are in despair. 
When hope has gone and death approaches to crush the 
delicate stem of life, the Hand of Divine Power is found 
to be strong, and merciful. 

Yunus among his people 

Allah sent Yunus to the people of the village of 
Nineveh. He called them to Allah but they rejected him 
and were stubborn in their unbelief. Angrily, he left them, 
promising them that they would be punished after three 


days. Knowing that Prophets do not lie, the people of 
Nineveh took heed and went out into the desert with their 
children, cattle and flocks. There they humbly entreated 
Allah and prayed fervently to Him. The camels and their 
young grumbled; the cows and calves lowed; the sheep 
and lambs bleated. So Allah removed the punishment from 
them . 

Why was there never a city that believed , and its 
belief profited it? Except for the people of Yunus. When 
they believed. We removed the punishment of disgrace 
from them in the life of this world and We gave them 
enjoyment for a time. (10: 98) 

Yunus inside the belly of the fish 

As for Yunus, he had embarked on a ship with 
some other people. It ran aground and, as they were afraid 
of drowning, they drew lots to decide which of the men 
they should throw overboard to lighten the ship. The lot 
fell on Yunus, but they refused to throw him overboard. 
They did it again and the lot again fell on him, but they 
still refused to do it. Then they did it a third time and again 
the lot fell on Yunus. Allah said: 'He cast lots and was one 
of the refuted ' (37: 41) 

Yunus then got up and threw himself into the sea. 
Allah, glory be to Him!, sent a fish to him. When he jumped 
into the water the fish swallowed him. Allah revealed to 
the fish not to eat the flesh nor break the bones of Yunus. 

Allah answers his supplication 

Yunus was in darkness in the belly of the fish in the 
darkness of the sea in the darkness of the night. Many 


darknesses, one within the other! What intense darkness! 
How far away safety was! He remained there for as long 
as Allah willed. Then Allah inspired him to disperse the 
darkness, remove his distress and to call down mercy from 
above the seven heavens. The Qur'an recounts this unique 
and strange story which contains solace for all who are in 
misery and despair. They can see that there is no shelter 
from Allah except in Allah: 

When Dhu'n-Nun left in anger and thought that 
We would have no power over him . Then he called out 
in the darknesses: ' There is no god but You! dory be to 
You! I am one of the wrong-doers . ' We answered him and 
We rescued him from grief. That is how We rescue the 
believers. (21: 87) 


10. The Prophets Zakariyya 

and Yahya 

Zakariyya's prayer for a righteous son 

Another way in which Allah blesses His slaves, and 
reveals a sign of His power that encompasses all things, is 
found in the prayer of Zakariyya. Zakariyya prayed for a 
son who would be righteous, pleasing to Allah, dutiful and 
God-fearing; who would be his heir in the line of Ya'qub, 
of the great family of Prophets who called people to 
worship Allah. When Zakariyya prayed for a son, he was 
so advanced in years that his bones were weak and his 
hair was white. He had lost any hope that his wife could 
ever bear a child. 

Yet, Allah answered his prayer. He gave him a 
right-guided son. While this child was still young, Allah 
granted him excellence, wisdom, forbearance, and know- 
ledge, and He bestowed upon him the Book. The boy was 
endowed with compassion, righteousness, taqwa (piety), 
and obedience towards his parents. From his compassion 
the virtues of kindness, gentleness and humility flowed. 

Allah fortified Zakariyya's heart and showed him 
signs of His infinite power to do whatever He wills and to 
create whatever He wills. Allah showed Zakariyya in 
person how He can act in His creation. Zakariyya under- 
stood that Allah can make possible what He wills. All 


existence is under His command: He brings forth the living 
from the dead, and brings forth the dead from the living, 
and provides for whomever He likes without reckoning. 

The vow of 'Imran's wife 

Imran's wife was of the family of the Prophet 
Zakariyya. She was a righteous woman who loved Allah 
and His true religion. She had vowed that if she gave birth 
to a boy, she would give this child to Allah to serve His 
religion. She asked Allah to accept this child, to help His 
religion and His servants through him, and to make him 
one of the Imams of guidance who call to Allah. 

She said: 'My Lord, I have given birth to a girl' 

This righteous woman wanted one thing but Allah 
had willed another. Allah has the best knowledge of what 
is best for His servants. She gave birth to a girl. She became 
sad and depressed. But this girl was not like other girls. 
She was stronger in worship and had more zeal for acts 
of obedience and good deeds than many boys. When 
Allah decreed, by a wisdom that only He knew, that the 
child should be a girl, He also decreed that she should be 
the mother of a righteous Prophet of great importance, for 
the burdens of prophethood are only taken on by men. 

When the wife of 'Imran said: 'Lord, l have vowed 
that what is in my womb will belong to You and be devoted 
to Your service . Accept this from me : You are the Hearing, 
the Knowing, ' When she gave birth to her, she said: 'Lord, 
I have given birth to her, a girl. ' Allah knew better what 
she had given birth to. The male is not like the female . 7 
have named her Maryam and I have entrusted her to You 


to protect her and her children from the accursed Satan . ' 
(3: 35-6) 

Allah's care for the righteous girl 

The girl was put in the care of Zakariyya because 
of her relationship to him. She was also in the care of Allah 
who, as Zakariyya saw, gave her fruits outside of their 
proper season and place. She ate what she liked of them 
and gave away whatever she wished. 

Her Lord accepted her with favour, and made her 
grow up well and beautiful. Zakariyya assumed the respon- 
sibility for her. Whenever Zakariyya came to her in the inner 
sanctuary, he found that she had food . He said: ' Maryam , 
how did you get this Z She said: 'It is from Allah . Allah 
provides for whomever He will without reckoning. ' (3: 36) 

An inspiration from the Merciful Lord 

Thus Allah revealed to Zakariyya, one of the 
Prophets and a wise, intelligent man, that the One who 
could give fruits out of their season to a righteous girl was 
well able to give a son to an old man advanced in age, 
even when he had given up hope owing to his great age 
and his wife's barrenness. 

Zakariyya's hopes and aspirations were revived. His 
spirit soared, and his trust in his Lord was strong. His tongue 
poured forth supplication which the angels were entrusted 
with and which set in motion the mercy of Allah. That was 
an inspiration from the Merciful Lord and something 
decreed by the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. 

There Zakariyya called on his Lord ' saying: 'My 
Lord, give me good offspring from You. You are the One 
who hears the supplication. ' (3: 38) 


Good news of a son 

Allah answered his prayer and sent him the good 
news of a righteous son soon to be born. 

Man was created hasty. Zakariyya asked for a sign 
of this great event and how near it was. He said: 'My Lord 
give me a sign . ' 

He said: 'Your sign is that you will not speak to 
people for three days except by gestures. Remember your 
Lord often and glorify Him in evenings and mornings . ' (3: 


Allah can make the articulate tongue dumb, unable 
to utter a single word. He can endow whatever creatures 
He wills with whatever properties He wills. 

The signs of Allah and His power 

The signs of Allah and His power were evident in 
Zakariyya's body, and his house and family. Yahya was 
born. He delighted Zakariyya, assisted him and kept his 
mission alive. 

The Qur'an says: And Zakariyya, when he called 
unto his Lord: 'O my Lord, do not leave me alone . You 
are the best of inheritors. ' We answered him, and gave 
him Yahya and We set his wife right for him. They vied 
with each other, hastening to good works and called to 
Us in yearning and awe. They were humble to Us. (21 : 

Yahya takes on the burden of the call 

Yahya was a delight to his parents and a successor 
to his noble father. He took on the burden of calling to 
Allah and the pure religion. He had a great passion for 


knowledge when he was still a boy and he was endowed 
with righteousness and taqwa even as a young man. He 
surpassed his comrades in love, compassion, and obedi- 
ence to his parents so that people would point him out. 
Allah says when He addresses him: 'O Yahya, take the 
Book with force . ' We gave him judgement as a child, and 
tenderness and purity from Us. He was Cod-fearing and 
dutiful to his parents , not arrogant and rebellious. 'Peace 
be upon him the day he was bom , the day he dies and 
the day when he will be raised up alive!' (19: 1 2—1 5) 


1 1 . The Prophet Isa ibn 


The story of a miracle 

The Prophet Isa was the last of the Messengers 
before the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and 
grant him peace. His is a story which reveals the conquering 
Will of Allah, His absolute Power and His fine Wisdom. 
Everything about Isa is a miracle. His birth was such a 
miracle that it is hard to believe in. People who reject Allah 
believe only in what they can see for themselves. I hey are 
ignorant of the Power of Allah which controls all things, 
and of the Will of Allah which cannot be resisted. His 
command when He wills something is that He says , ' Be V 
and it is. (36: 82} 

However, the birth of Isa is accepted easily by 
those who believe in Allah as a powerful, transforming 
God, a Creator and a Maker. He is Allah , the Creator , the 
Maker , the Fashioner. He has the most beautiful names. 
All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him. He 
is the Mighty , the Wise , (59: 24) 

Such people believe that Adam was created from 
water and clay without a mother or father. To believe in 
a birth by a mother without a father is easier than to believe 
in a birth without a mother or a father. That is why Allah 
said: The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam. 


He created him from earth and then said to him , 'Bel' and 
he was. (3: 59) 

Everything about 'Isa was extraordinary 

Everything related to the Prophet Isa was extraordi- 
nary. He was born at a time when Greece had made its 
greatest advances in rational sciences, mathematics and 

The Jews followed a worldly point of view 

The Jews, though a community who had given 
many Prophets, at this time rejected the Spirit of God and 
anything connected to it. They found a worldly explanation 
for everything. The miracles which Allah bestowed on the 
Prophet Isa were designed to cure that narrow, worldly 
point of view, It was what was needed in that age. 

As a community, the Jews depended only on what 
they themselves witnessed. They had a great veneration 
for race and blood, and a love of money and property. 
They were completely engrossed in this life. Their hearts 
became hard, and their natures became course. They were 
not kind to the weak nor gentle towards the poor. They 
treated people who had no Israelite blood in their veins as 
worthless. They were humble towards the strong and rich, 
and tyrannical towards the poor and weak. They were 
harsh when they had power and yielding when they were 
without power. Hypocrisy and servility, trickery and cun- 
ning, and resorting to conspiracy and secretiveness were 
engendered in them by a life of abasement and servitude 
which they had long endured in Syria and Palestine under 
Roman rule. 


Scorn and disobedience 

Over the ages, the Jews' scorn tor the Prophets had 
increased. So too, in their community, had murder, 
dealings with usury, joking about religious teachings, and 
lack of compassion. The hearts of many of them were 
stripped of sincere love of Allah. They forgot about charity, 
equality, piety and generosity. They had once believed in 
Prophethood and the Message, and there had been many 
Prophets among them and their books were filled with 
reports about therm But, in the end, they only believed in 
what suited their purpose. They opposed those who 
criticized them, called them to account and called them 
to true religion, and even made war on them. 

Allah's blessing to the Israelites 

At one time the Jews had been a nation apart from 
other nations by their belief in the Divine Unity. I hat is 
why they were preferred over other people at that time. 
Allah the Exalted says : 'O Children of Israel, remember My 
blessing to you which l bestowed on you and that I 
preferred you over all the worlds. ' (2: 47) 


Because they mixed with idol-worshipping people, 
gradually the Jews failed to honour the teachings of the 
Prophets, They began to adopt spurious beliefs and ignor- 
ant customs. They had worshipped the Calf after their 
escape from Egypt, and they developed a great veneration 
for 'Uzayr, even claiming that he was more than human. 
Their insolence led them to ascribe idol- worship, magic 
and unbelief and ugly deeds to certain Prophets. They did 
not fear Allah any more. 


Pride and conceit 

Jn spite of all these faults, the Jews took great pride 
in their lineage and gave great weight to their hopes and 
dreams. They said: We are the sons and beloved of Allah. ' 
(5: 18) And they said: 'The Fire will only touch us for a 
certain number of days/ (2: 80) 

The birth of the Messiah challenges the ordinary senses 

The birth, life, and message of the Messiah chal- 
lenged the Jews' perception, custom and law. It also 
challenged the highest ideals in which they believed and 
the ends for which they competed and fought. The Messiah 
was born in a most unusual way. He spoke to people 
while he was still in the cradle and grew up in the care of 
a poor, chaste mother. He lived in a climate of slander 
and hostility, far from the trappings of prestige and wealth. 
He sat with poor people, ate with them and was kind to 
them. He comforted the weak and the stranger. He treated 
equally the rich and the poor, the judge and the judged, 
and the high-born and the lowly. 

The miracles of the Messiah 

Allah granted the Messiah Prophethood and revela- 
tion. He gave him the Gospel and supported him with the 
Holy Spirit and wonderful miracles. Allah gave him healing 
for the sick whom the doctors had failed to cure. He healed 
people who had been blind from birth, and the lepers, 
and brought the dead to life by the permission of Allah. 
He shaped clay into something like the form of a bird, and 
then breathed into it and it became a bird by the permission 
of Allah. He told people what they had eaten and what 
they had stored up in their houses. 


All of this restored trust and belief in the miracles 
of the Messengers and the reports of divine power con- 
tained in the Torah. But those who rejected the reality of 
Divine Power and the force of the Will of the Lord rose 
up. They declared that there could be nothing new and 
nothing beyond the worldly knowledge they already pos- 

'Isa's call to true religion and the Jews' rejection of him 

Isa uncovered the lies of the Jews in many of the 
matters that they had dreamed up and practised. They 
made unlawful what Allah had made lawful and lawful 
what Allah had made unlawful. Isa began to call them to 
the spirit and heart of true religion, to its basis and inward 
reality, to the love of Allah which comes before every other 
love, to mercy and respect for mankind, and to charity 
towards the poor. He called them to pure belief in God 
and dismissed all the ignorant customs and false beliefs 
which had crept into the religion of the Prophets. 

The Jews oppose isa 

Isa's teaching proved unbearable to the Jews. They 
became hostile to him. They poured blame on him, and 
taunted him with suspicions and slander. They used curses 
and foul words against him. They slandered his mother, 
Maryam the Virgin. They attacked him, aroused the rabble 
against him and ridiculed his teachings. 

The story of isa in the Qur'an 

Then the Jews sought to kill isa and be rid of him, 
but Allah protected him and turned their plots back against 


them. He raised him to Himself and honoured him. Read 
the story in the Qur'an: 

When the angels said: 'Maryam! Allah gives you 
the good news of a word from Him . His name is Messiah, 
'Isa the son of Maryam noteworthy in this world and in 
the Hereafter , one of those brought near. He will speak to 
people in the cradle and when he is an adult. He is one 
of the righteous. ' 

She said: 'My Lord! How can l have a son when 
no man has touched me?' He said: 'Just like that . Allah 
creates whatever He wills. When He decrees something. 
He only says to it, "Be!" and it is. He will teach him the 
Book, the Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel, and he will 
be a Messenger to the Children of Israel \ ' 

7 have brought you a sign from your Lord. I will 
form for you out of clay something similar to the form of 
a bird and f will breathe into it and it will become a bird 
by Allah's permission . / will heal the blind from birth and 
the leper and I will bring the dead back to life by the 
permission of Allah and tell you what you eat and what 
you store up in your houses . There is a sign for you in that 
if you are believers. I confirm what is before me of the 
Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was 
unlawful for you . I have brought you a sign from your 
Lord. So fear Allah and obey me. Allah is my Lord and 
your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path. ' 

When 'Isa sensed rejection in them , he said: ' Who 
are my helpers to Allah V The disciples said: 'We are the 
helpers of Allah. We believe in Allah. We testify that we 
are those who submit (to Him). Our Lord ' we believe in 
what You have sent down . We follow the Messenger, so 
write us down among the witnesses!' (Those who rejected) 
plotted and Allah plotted. Allah is the best of plotters. 


When Allah said: "Isa, l will take you and raise you 
up to Me and purify you from those who have rejected \ I 
will place those who follow you above those who have 
rejected until the Day of judgement Then you (all) will 
return to Me and l will judge between you regarding that 
about which you used to differ. Those who reject, l will 
punish them with a terrible punishment in this world and 
the Next World . They will have no helpers . ' 

Those who believe and do good deeds will be given 
their wages in full. Allah does not love the wrong-doers. 
That is what We recite to you of the signs and Wise 

The example of 'Isa in the sight of Allah is as the 
example of Adam. He created him from earth and then 
He said to him , 'Bel' and he was. The truth is from your 
Lord. Do not be one of the doubters . ' (3: 45-60) 

Isa's life and call in the Qur'an 

Read Allah's description of 'Isa's life and call: 

7 am the slave of Allah . Allah has given me the 
Book and made me a Prophet. He has made me blessed 
wherever f am and has enjoined me to pray and to pay 
the zakat as long as l am alive and to be dutiful to my 
mother. He did not make me arrogant and wretched. 
Peace be upon me the day l was bom, the day f die and 
the day I will be raised up alive . ' (19: 30—3) 

An eternal conflict 

What had happened to other Prophets before him 
happened to Isa. The rulers and leaders kept away from 
him. The rich and powerful ignored him. They thought it 


a sin to believe in him and his followers. They would not 
give up the leadership, position, privilege and distinction 
they enjoyed. The words of Allah are true: 

We sent no warner into any city except that its 
wealthy said; 'We disbelieve in the Message you have been 
sent with/ They also said: 'We are more abundant in 
wealth and children , and we will not be punished , ' (34: 

The belief of the common and poor people 

Isa despaired of the obstinacy and disbelief of the 
wealthy people. They rejected the clear signs and wonderful 
miracles he had brought even though they knew they were 
true, they belittled him because he did not have power and 
might. So Isa devoted himself to the common and poor 
people whose hearts yielded, whose souls were pure because 
they lived by the toil of their hands and the sweat of their 
brows. They did not boast of lineage nor become insolent 
because of rank and position. A group of them, including 
fishermen, c raftsmen and workers believed. 

We are the helpers of Allah 

These people believed in the Messiah and gathered 
around him and placed their hands in his hand and said: 
'We are the helpers of Allah/ Allah says: 

When 'Isa sensed rejection in them , he said: 'Who 
are my helpers to Allah/ The disciples said; 'We are the 
helpers of Allah. We believe in Allah. We testify that we 
are those who submit (to Him l Our Lord we believe in 
what You have sent down. We follow the Messenger, so 
write us down among the witnesses!' (3: 52-3) 


Travel and call 

Isa spent most of his time travelling from place to 
place teaching about the One God. He called the Israelites 
to Allah and guided those among them who were astray 
to their Lord and Master. In his travels he met with both 
ease and hardship. He endured all this with patience and 
accepted it in gratitude. He endured hunger and was 
content with just enough food to keep body and soul 

The disciples ask for a table from heaven 

The disciples did not have the same degree of 
patience that Isa had, not his steadfastness, discipline and 
self-control. They were afflicted by the continual hardship 
and wanted 'Isa to ask Allah to send down a table from 
heaven for them, from which they could eat and be filled 
after their hunger, and have comfort after their difficulties. 

improper manners 

But the disciples did not behave correctly when 
making their request. They said : 7s it possible for your Lord 
to send down on us a Table from out of heaven?' (5: 112) 
Isa did not like their request or the manner in which they 
presented it to him. The Prophets ask their communities 
to believe in the Unseen, and make it obligatory for them 
to do so. Miracles are not games to amuse children and 
divert the gullible. They are signs from Allah which He 
manifests at the hands of His Prophets whenever 1 1e likes. 
Through them the proof of Allah is established against His 
slaves. They are not given any reprieve after these miracles 
appear and are rejected. 


Warning his people about a bad punishment 

Isa was afraid for the disciples because of their 
request for a table from heaven. He warned them about 
incurring an evil punishment. He forbade them to put Allah 
to the test. He is too High and Majestic for that. 

Insistence and earnest request 

But the disciples repeated their request. They 
explained that they did not intend to test Allah, rather they 
wanted to put their hearts at ease. They intended it to be 
a reminder to future generations and a story to be told and 
reported for years to come. It would be a proof of the truth 
of the religion and of the situation of the first believers and 
truthful disciples. 

The Qur'an relates the story 

The Qur'an recounts this story thus: 

When the disciples said: j O 'Isa son of Maryam , is 
it possible for your Lord to send down on us a Table from 
out of heaven V He said: Tear Allah , if you are believers . ' 
They said: ' We want to eat from it and for our hearts to 
be at rest, and that we may know that you have spoken 
the truth to us, and that we may be among the witnesses 
to that / 'Isa the son of Maryam said: O Allah, our Lord ' 
send down on us a Table from out of heaven to be a 
festival for us, for the first of us and the last of us, and a 
sign from You . Provide for us. You are the best of providers. ' 

Allah said: 7 will send it down on you. Whoever 
of you disbelieves afterwards, l will punish him with such 
a punishment that I will not punish any other being. ' (5: 
1 1 2 — 1 5 ) 


The Jews try to get rid of the Prophet 'Isa 

The patience of the Jews ran out as their enmity 
and obstinacy increased. They wanted to be rid of 'Isa. 
They took his case to the Roman governor, saying: 'He is 
an anarchist, a revolutionary who has renounced our 
religion. He seduces our young men so they are led astray 
by him. He divides us, calls our dreams foolish and worries 

The style of avengers and politicians 

The jews said of 'Isa: 'He is a danger to the state. 
He does not submit to the government or obey the law. 
He does not respect the great nor revere the ancient. He 
is a revolutionary. If his evil is not contained, things will 
reach a crisis. Do not ignore a spark, no matter how trifling.' 

Deceit and cunning 

The Jews' words were full of deceit and cunning. 
They knew that mention of Isa's activities would not 
influence the governors nor provoke them, as their policy 
was not to meddle in the religious affairs of the Jews. That 
is why the Jews accused 'Isa of being involved in politics. 

A problem 

It was difficult for the Roman, idol-worshipping 
governors to decide on the truth of the matter and to 
recognize the motives of the Jews, and the reason for their 
enmity towards the Messiah. They were distracted from 
this question by administrative matters. But the Jews were 
very insistent and kept coming back to them. The Roman 


governors wanted to be finished with this case which had 
become the talk of the town. 

The Prophet 'Isa in court 

It was a Friday afternoon, before the night of the 
Sabbath. The jews did not do anything on the Sabbath. It 
was a day of rest. They were very eager for the governors' 
judgement against Isa to be given before the sun set on 
Friday. Then they could go to sleep with peace of mind. 
They would be able to relax in the morning, with nothing 
to annoy them. 

The judge was bored with the case. He had no 
interest in It nor did it contain any benefit for the Romans. 
The Jews gathered to hear the sentence. Time was short, 
the sun was nearly setting. The judge gave judgement 
against 'Isa, that he should be put to death by crucifixion. 

The law at that time 

The law at that time demanded that the condemned 
man be made to carry the cross on which he was to be 
crucified. The place of execution was a long way off. A 
crowd gathered, pushing against each other. The soldiers 
had no interest in the case. The Israelites all looked alike 
to them, they could not distinguish one from the other. It 
was evening and the shadows had lengthened. Some of 
the Jews and zealous fools among the young men were 
making fun of the Messiah. They were pushing him, cursing 
him, insulting him, keen to injure and humiliate him. 

'Isa endures the injury 

The Messiah was weary, exhausted by the effort 
and the length of time he had to stand in the court and 


the injuries he had to endure. The cross he carried was 
heavy. He could only go slowly. 

Divine management 

Then the soldier in charge of the procession com- 
manded a young Israelite, who was the most zealous, the 
most foolish, the one most eager to injure and attack the 
Messiah, to carry the cross. The soldier wanted the whole 
business speedily resolved, to be free of the burdensome 

But it was a likeness of him 

When the procession reached the place of execution, 
the gallows guard came forward to take charge of the con- 
demned man from the city guard. They saw the young man 
carrying the cross. In the confusion, with the young men 
pushing and shouting, they seized hold of the man carrying 
the cross, thinking that he was the one condemned to be 
crucified. He was yelling and shouting, declaring that he was 
innocent and had nothing to do with the sentence. He had 
been made to carry the cross by force. The Roman soldiers 
paid no attention to him. They did not understand his dialect. 

Carrying out the sentence 

Every criminal claims that he is innocent of his 
crime. Every criminal shouts and cries out. The guards 
seized the young Israelite and carried out the sentence. 
The jews were standing at a distance. Night was falling 
and everything was in darkness. They all thought that the 
crucified man was the Messiah. 


'Isa was raised to heaven 

As for the Prophet 'Isa, the son of Maryann, Allah 
the Exalted saved him from the plots of the Jews and raised 
him up to Himself, honoured him and purified him of those 
who had rejected. 

The Qur'an recounts the story 

These are Allah's words about the Jews: 

' For their disbelief and uttering great slander against 
Maryam and their saying , "We killed the Messiah ' Isa son 
of Maryam, the Messenger of Allah . " But they did not kill 
him nor crucify him , but only a likeness of that was shown 
to them. Those who disagreed about him are in doubt 
about him. They have no knowledge about him , only 
following conjectures . They did not truly kill him . Allah 
raised him to Himself. Allah Is Mighty , the Wise. '(4: 1 56) 

He is in the heavens as Allah the Exalted, Who has 
the power to do anything He wills, willed him to be. His 
birth was a marvel, as were his life and everything about 
him. From first to last, he was a marvel, a miracle to confirm 
absolute Divine Power. 

The descent of 'Isa before the Day of Resurrection 

Isa will descend from heaven when Allah wills. He 
will establish the proof against those of the Jews and 
Christians who abandoned him or went to excess about 
him. He will assist the truth and vanquish the people of 
falsehood, as our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant 
him peace, has informed us. There are many sound reports 
and ahadith about this matter. The Muslims of every age 
believe in it. Allah the Sublime spoke this truth: 


' There is not one of the People of the Book who 
will not believe in him before his death and on the Day of 
Rising he will be a witness against them. ' (4: 159) 

His good news about the sending of the Prophet Muham- 
mad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace 

Isa did not complete his prophetic task due to the 
intense hostility and plotting of the Jews against him, and 
his own weakness and lack of helpers. He took leave of 
the people and obeyed his Lord's command. He gave 
them the good news of a Messenger to come after him 
whose job was to complete what he had begun. That 
message would spread throughout the world. Through him 
the blessing of Allah to His slaves would be completed 
and the proof against His creation established. 

When 7 sa the son of Maryam said: *0 Children of 
Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah to you , confirming what 
is before me of the Torah and giving good news of a 
Messenger who will come after me whose name is Ahmad. ' 
( 61 : 6 ) 

From pure Tawhid to an obscure belief 

One of the oddities in the history of religions makes 
one weep and one's heart bleed. It is that the Messiah's 
declaration of Allah's unity and his call to a dear religion, 
to worship Allah alone, seeking refuge in Him and having 
pure love for Him, was changed to an obscure creed and 
complicated philosophy. 

Instead, his followers said: The Messiah is the son 
of Allah.' They said: 'Allah has taken a son/ They said: 
'Allah is the Messiah, the son of Maryam.' They tried to 
make of the One Eternal God, who does not beget and 


was not begotten, a family composed of three persons, all 
of them divine. They said: The father, the son and the 
Holy Ghost/ 

They believe in Maryam, the mother of the Messiah, 
and elevate her to the level of sanctification and worship. 
They say: The Mother of God/ and statues and images 
of her are common in churches. The Christians bow to 
these images, seek refuge in them, and make supplication, 
vows and acts of devotion to them. Allah the Exalted has 
rejected such belief and worship: 

The Messiah son of Maryam was only a Messenger . 
Messengers have passed away before him. His mother was 
a truthful woman. They both ate food . See how We make 
the signs dear to them. Then see how they have turned 
aside from the truth . Say: 'Do you worship , apart from 
Allah , what can neither hurt nor benefit you? Allah is the 
Hearing , the Knowing / (5: 75-6) 

'Isa calls to the worship of the One God 

Like other Prophets, Isa called to the worship of 
the One God. His words have come in the Gospel: 'It is 
written that you prostrate to the Lord your God and worship 
Him alone/ (Matthew 4: 10); and: It is written that you 
prostrate to the Lord your God and worship Him alone/ 
(Luke 4: 8) 

Allah the Exalted said: 'It is not fitting for any mortal 
to be given the Book , Judgement and Prophethood by 
Allah , and then for him to say to the people: "Be my slaves 
rather than Allah's." Rather: "Be faithful servants of Cod 
on account of what you know of the Book and what you 
study. " / le would not command you to take the angels 


and Prophets as Lords . Would he command you to 
unbelieve after you have surrendered T (3: 79-80) 

The Qur'an clearly declares 'Isa's call 

The Qur'an comprehends and confirms what was 
before it, and relates the clear statement of Isa about pure 
tawhid and his calling to it in clear, plain language: 

They certainty disbelieve who say, ' God is the 
Messiah, the son of Maryam . ' The Messiah said: j O 
Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord . 
Whoever associates anything with Allah , Allah will forbid 
him entrance to the Carden . His refuge is the Fire. The 
wrong- doers will have no helpers. ' (5: 172) 

The position of Tawhid in his call 

Isa said with a beautiful eloquence, relished by all 
who recognize the necessity of tawhid and the life of the 
Prophets and Messengers: 

'The Messiah will not disdain to be a slave to Allah, 
neither the angels who are near to Him. Whoever disdains 
to worship Him and is arrogant, He will gather them to Him, 
all of them. As for those who believe and do righteous 
actions , He will pay them their wages in full and give them 
more from His bounty . As for those who disdain and are 
proud, He will punish them with a painful punishment. They 
will find no friend or helper apart from Allah. '(4:1 72-3) 

An awesome encounter in the gathering on the Day of 

The Qur'an, with its inimitable eloquence, depicts 
an awesome meeting on the Day of Resurrection. The 

1 66 

Prophet 'Isa will declare himself innocent of what the 
people said about him and of how they treated him. He 
will clarify his call with strength and truth, and pronounce 
the guilt of those of his community who went beyond the 
limits. They alone are responsible for this sin. Read the 
Qur'an and perceive how grand and majestic the situation 
would be, how splendid the scene: When Allah said: "Isa 
the son of Maryam! Did you say to people ; "Take me and 
my mother as gods apart from Allah"?' He said: "Glory 
be to Allah! It is not for me to say what / have no right to 
say. If I said if You know it You know what is in my sou I 
and l do not know what is in Your soul. You know the 
unseen things . / only told them what You commanded 
me , 'Serve Allah , my Lord and your Lord. ' I was a witness 
over them as long as I was among them. When You took 
me to You , You were the Watcher over them , and You 
are a witness of everything, if You punish them , they are 
Your slaves. If You forgive them , , You are the Mighty , the 

Allah said: ' This is the day when the truthful will 
profit by their truthfulness. They will have Gardens with 
rivers flowing under them , forever in them. Allah is pleased 
with them and they are pleased with Him. That is the great 
victory . ' 

To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and 
the earth and what is in them. He has power over 
everything. (5 : 11 6—20) 

From an obscure creed to unveiled idolatry 

It was on their own initiative that Christian mis- 
sionaries moved to Europe: the Messiah never commanded 
that; he clearly stated that his mission was for the stray 


sheep, who were the erring men and women of the 
Israelites. In Europe at that time idol-worship was wide- 
spread. The Creeks were idol-worshippers. They made 
images of Allah in various forms, carved statues of those 
images, and built for them temples and shrines. There was 
a god for livelihood, a god for mercy and a god for power, 
and so on. 

The Romans were deep-rooted in idol-worship and 
clung to superstition. Idolatry flowed through them like 
blood. When Christianity reached them and Constantine 
the Great became a Christian, embracing and adopting the 
new faith in 306 C.E., he made it the official state religion. 
Then Christianity began gradually to adopt many of the 
idolatrous beliefs found in Roman customs and Greek 
philosophy and to lose its prophetic purity, Eastern simplic- 
ity and Unitarian zeal. Hypocrites entered it and grafted on 
to it their ancient beliefs and idolatrous ways. A new 
religion grew up in which Christianity and idol-worship 
mingled together. 

So the early advance of Christianity was on a path 
other than the path followed by the Messiah and the one 
to which he called. It was like a traveller following a path 
deviating from the right one, intentionally or unintention- 
ally, in the darkness of the night. He continues his journey 
on a path which is completely different from the original 
path . 

The precise story is only known by those who study 
the history of this religion. Allah described the Christians 
as misguided, whereas He described the Jews as deserving 
of His wrath. He says on the tongue of the Muslims: 

Guide us on the Straight Path, the path of those 
You have blessed, not those against whom You are angry 
nor those who are astray, (1:7) 

Allah's is the command first and last. (30: 4) 



Questions on Stories of the Prophets 

1. The Prophet Nuh 

1 . Why is the whole of mankind called the Children of 

2. Why did Satan want to spoil a perfect world? 

3. What methods did Satan consider using to draw 
people away from Allah? 

4. Satan put into people's minds the idea of making 
portraits of dead people. What was the evil result of 
this action? 

5. Describe the way in which foolish people used their 

6. Why was Allah angered by the worship of idols? 

7. Describe Allah's angels. 

8. Why did Allah prefer His messenger to be a man, 
rather than an angel? 

9. Why was Nuh chosen to be a Prophet? 

10. What did the foolish people say about Nuh being a 


11. Using Allah's words from the Holy Qur'an repeat 
how Nuh warned the idol-worshippers of their future 

1 2. How did the rich people react to Nuh's warnings? 

1 3. Name the signs of Allah that Nuh pointed out to the 

14. For how many years was Nuh with his people? 

15. Why is Nuh described as a patient Prophet? 

1 6. Why did Nuh eventually appeal to Allah to punish 
his people 7 

! 7. Flow did Allah answer Nuh's plea? 

1 8. Why did the people mock Nuh when he was building 
the ark? 

19. What did Allah reveal should be saved on the ark? 

20. Why was Nuh's son not saved? What important 
message is contained in the story of Nuh's son? 

2. The Prophet Hud 

1 . From whom was the community of the 'Ad de- 

2. Describe the 'Ad's early, peaceful way of life. 

3. Describe the changes in the 'Ad's behaviour once 
they forgot that they owed their blessings to Allah. 

4. What differences appeared between the behaviour 
of the rich and of the poor as time went on? 

5. Describe how Hud appealed to the people to im- 
prove their behaviour. 


6. How did the 'Ad react to Hud's message from Allah? 

7. Pick out the arguments that were used by both sides 
to justify their behaviour, 

8. From the reasons given by Hud for worshipping 
Allah, pick out the one which you think makes the 
strongest case. 

9. How did Allah punish the 'Ad? 

10. Describe the scene of destruction witnessed by Hud 
and the believers. 

3. The Prophet Salih 

1 . Who were the people of Thamud? 

2. Describe the environment with which Allah had 
blessed the people of Thamud. 

3. Why did the people of Thamud think that they could 
survive although the 'Ad had been destroyed? 

4. Why did the people of Thamud need a Messenger 
from Allah? 

5. Describe Salih's character. 

6. Why did the rich people resist the message that Salih 
gave them from Allah? 

7. Why did the rich people demand a sign to prove 
that Salih was telling the truth? 

8. In your own words tell the story of the sh e-cam el. 

9. Why did the Thamud decide to kill this special 
she-camef and then to kill Salih? 

1 0, How did Allah punish the wicked people of Thamud? 


4. The Prophet Ibrahim 

1 . Why was Azar so well known? 

2. Why did Ibrahim question why the people were 
worshipping idols? 

3. Why did Azar get angry from hearing Ibrahim's 

4. Describe how Ibrahim proved to the people that idols 
are worthless. 

5. How did the people react to Ibrahim's destruction 
of the idols? 

6. How was Ibrahim saved from the fire? 

7. Describe how Ibrahim convinced himself that Allah 
is greater than the stars, the moon and the sun. 

8. What happened when Ibrahim gave the people the 
message from Allah? 

9. Why was the king so angry when he discovered that 
Ibrahim worshipped Allah? 

10. How did Ibrahim demonstrate to the king the great- 
ness of Allah? 

1 1. Why did Ibrahim decide to travel to another country? 

12. Describe how Makka looked when Ibrahim and 
Hajar arrived there. 

1 3. Describe how the well of Zamzam came into being. 

14. Describe how Ibrahim's obedience to Allah was 
tested. How is the result of the feast celebrated each 


15, Find a picture of the Af-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, 
Describe how it was first built, 

5. The Prophet Yusuf 

1 . Ibrahim had a son named Ishaq and Ishaq had a son 
named Ya'qub. Ya'qub had 12 sons including one 
named Yusuf. What was the relationship between 
the Prophet Yusuf and the Prophet Ibrahim? 

2 . Relate the story of Y usufis wonderful dream and then 
give his father's interpretation of this dream. 

3. Why were the other brothers jealous of Yusuf and 

4. By what means did the brothers persuade their father 
to let Yusuf go away with them? 

5. How did the brothers get rid of Yusuf and how did 
they explain his absence to their father? 

6. Describe how Yusuf was rescued from the well. 

7. Who bought Yusuf and to whom was he given? 

B. Describe the dreams Yusuf's fellow prisoners had and 
his interpretation of their dreams. 

9. Why was Yusuf summoned from the prison to the 
king's palace? 

1 0. What was the warning Yusuf gave to the king about 
Egypt's food supplies? 

1 1 . Why did Yusuf's brothers travel to Egypt? 

12. How did Yusuf persuade his brothers to bring Be- 
nyamin to Egypt? 


13. How did Yusuf persuade his brothers to leave Be- 
nyamin with him in Egypt? 

1 4. When the brothers went to Egypt for the third time 
they discovered Yusufs true identity. How did they 
make this discovery? 

15. Describe the scene when Ya'qub learnt that Yusuf 
was still alive and explain how Yusufs original dream 
had come true. 

6* The Prophet Musa 

1 . Why did the Egyptians start to lose their respect for 
the Israelites? 

2. How did the Pharaohs treat the Israelites? 

3. Why did the Israelites refuse to worship the Pharaoh? 

4. Why did the Pharaoh order that all the new bom 
baby boys of the Israelites be put to death? 

5. Describe how the baby Musa was saved. 

6. What injustices did Musa notice when he was 
growing up in the palace? 

7. Why did the Pharaoh order that Musa be put to death? 

8. How did Allah help Musa to escape from the 
Pharaoh's orders? 

9. Describe how Musa was provided with a home in 
Midian for eight years. 

10. With what words did Allah speak to Musa when he 
and his family left the house in Midian? 


1 1 . What two signs did Allah give to Musa before 
commanding him to return to Egypt? 

12. Why was it best for Musa and Harun to be kind to 
the Pharaoh at first? 

13. What arguments did Musa use to convince the 
Pharaoh that there is only one Cod? 

14. What happened when the king summoned all the 
best sorcerers to use their magic against Musa? 

15. What convinced the sorcerers that Musa was a 

1 6. How did the sorcerers react to the Pharaoh's threats 
when they were accused of betraying him? 

17. What advice did the wise believer give to the 

18. Why was the Pharaoh's wife a brave woman? 

19. By what means did Allah make the Pharaoh take 
notice of Him? 

20. Name the five signs Allah sent to the Pharaoh. 

21 . Describe how Musa led the Israelites out of Egypt. 

22. What happened to the Pharaoh and his armies when 
he pursued the Israelites? 

23. How were the Israelites helped when they were 
hungry and thirsty in the desert? 

24. Why did the Israelites behave like spoilt children after 
they left Egypt? 

25. Relate the story of how a murderer was caught with 
Allah's help. 


26. Give five reasons why the Shari 'ah is necessary. 

27. In what way did Allah provide the Israelites with 
guidance on Mount Sinai? 

28. How did the Samiri lead the weak Israelites astray? 

29. Describe the meeting between Musa and Al-Khadir 
and explain why it enabled Musa to understand how 
Allah has distributed knowledge. 

30. The Prophet Musa rescued the Israelites from the 
Pharaoh and led them to freedom. Describe the 
behaviour of the Israelites after they were rescued 
and how Allah punished them. 

7. The Prophet Shu'ayb 

1. Why was Shu'ayb's message from Allah needed by 
Midian and the people of the Thicket? 

2. Give three of Shu'ayb's reasons for being fair in 
business dealings. 

3. Describe how Shu'ayb's people ignored his advice. 

4. What was the people's final threat to Shu'ayb? 

5. How did Allah punish the wicked people who 
rejected Shu'ayb's advice? 

8, The Prophets Da'ud and Sulayman 

1 . What does the Holy Qur'an say about the Prophets 
Sulayman and Da'ud (ref. 27: 1 6, 34: 1 0, 2 1 : 79-80). 

2, Describe how Da'ud ruled his kingdom. 


3. What was Sulayman's wise judgement in the case 
where sheep had ruined a man's vineyard? 

4 . Find a picture of the bird called a hoopoe. How did 
the hoopoe help Sulayman? 

5. What did the Queen of Sheba and her people 

6. Why did Sulayman write a letter to the Queen of 

7. How did the Queen's counsellors respond to the 

8. What did the Queen decide to send to Sulayman 
and what were her reasons for sending them? 

9. How did Sulayman react to the Queen's test? 

10. Why did Sulayman decide to send for the Queen's 

1 1 . Describe how the Queen was to be tested about her 
own throne. 

1 2. Why did Sulayman want to test the Queen's powers 
of perception? 

13. How did Sulayman discover that the Queen of Sheba 
was easily deceived? 

14. What did the Queen say when she realized that she 
lacked perception? 

15. How does this story illustrate Sulayman's wisdom? 

9. The Prophets Ayyub and Yunus 

1. Describe the harsh conditions endured by Ayyub 
and his wife. 


2. How did Ayyub's patience show up? 

3. What does the Holy Qur'an say about Ayyub's 
prayer to Allah and Allah's answer? 

4. To which village did Allah send Yunus and why did 
Allah send him there? 

5. Describe Yunus' experiences from the time he em- 
barked on the ship until Allah answered his prayer. 

10. The Prophets Zakariyya and Yahya 

1 . How was old Zakariyya's prayer answered? 

2. What did Imran's wife (a relative of Zakariyya's) vow 
that she would do if she had a son? 

3. 'Imran's wife had a daughter, not a son. Why was 
this daughter entrusted to Zakariyya's care? 

4. Describe the character of Yahya, the son of Zakariyya. 

5. Relate what the Holy Qur'an says about Yahya in 
19: 12-15. 

1 1 . The Prophet 'Isa ibn Maryam 

1. Why was 'Isa's birth a miracle? 

2. Describe the condition of the Jews at the time of 'Isa's 

3. Name five of Isa's good qualities. 

4. Describe five of the miracles Isa performed. 

5. Why did the Jews find it difficult to accept the 
message 'Isa gave them from Allah? 


6. Why did Isa devote his teaching to the poor and not 
to the rich? 

7. Why was it wrong tor Isa's disciples to want him to 
ask Allah to send down a table? 

8. How did Allah reply to the disciples' request? 

9. Why did the jews want to be rid of Isa? 

1 0. Why did the Roman governor want to be rid of 'Isa's 

1 1 . Describe the scene when Isa was marched towards 
the execution site. 

12. What happened when the procession reached the 
execution site? 

13. From the Holy Qur'an repeat Allah's words about 
Isa's death (4: 156). 

1 4. Read what the Holy Qur'an says about Isa (5 ; 75-6). 
How does this contradict Christian belief? 

15. How did 'Isa's message from Allah become distorted?